I'm synthesizing and characterizing the optical properties of Polyvinyl Alcohol cryogel phantoms. My approach is purely physical and involves freezing and thawing polyvinyl alcohol hydrogels until they become solid (hence cryogel). With each cycle the scattering properties change, i.e. increased reduced scattering coefficient. This change is also dependent on the freezing and thawing *rate*. The phantoms are normally purely scattering, but can be doped with different absorbers. I'm also trying to find the effect of freeze-thaw cycling on the absorption properties as well. It's our hope that once we know how to precisely control these optical properties, we can start producing viable phantoms for applications in photodynamic therapy.
I was trained as a chemist, and as such am particularly fond of that field, especially quantum mechanics approached from a chemist's perspective. My thesis work requires me to maintain some serviceable knowledge of analytical chemistry, and so far those skills have come quite handy. I still maintain membership in the ACS (American Chemical Society).
I once dabbled in nanomaterials while at ORNL (TN), and would one day like to try my hand in that again.