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Educational Programs and Outreach

Romeoville High School ESRP 2017

Threonine: An Amino Acid Autonomous Molecular Assembly


  • Students:
    • Midhun Ajikumar
    • Matthew Boots
    • Carmen Awin-Ongya
    • Melanie Diep
    • Kyle Hewitt
    • Mariela Medina
    • Patrick Nowak
    • Bradley Ramos
    • Laurel Wirkus
  • Teachers:
    • Sandrine Clairardin
    • Tina Paulus
  • Mentors:
    • Nathan Guisinger (Argonne National Laboratory, Center For Nanoscale Materials)

Center for Nanoscale Materials

In our research we utilized scanning tunneling microscopy to study the molecular self-assembly of chiral amino acids, specifically Threonine, on metal surfaces. The study of molecular self-assembly is a key component to nature and a phenomena that is utilized by nanoscale research. Chiral molecular assemblies are of interest for drug development, catalysis, and sensing. Amino acids are chiral molecules that are the building block of proteins. One of the unsolved mysteries in science is in the synthesis of proteins. The goal of this study is to further our understanding of chiral molecular assembly on single crystal metal surfaces. In particular, we explored the hypothesis that racemic mixtures will lead to selective chiral assemblies. We utilized the scanning tunneling microscope to characterize these molecular assemblies at the atomic scale. This project combines fundamental elements of physics, chemistry, and biology.

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