Joseph J. BelBruno
Professor of Chemistry

Research Overview

Our research involves studies of clusters, nanoparticles (including nanometer-dimensioned imprinted polymers), sensor development and the interactions of particles with surfaces. Both experimental and computational techniques are employed. The research is focused on the materials as well as the chemistry of the production process.

For example, clusters are produced in beam flows in a mass spectrometer. The same apparatus is used to size-selectively deposit clusters onto a substrate and examine the resultant nanoparticle structures that include semiconductive clusters and metallic nanotubes.

We have developed a novel thin film technique for the production of molecularly imprinted polymers and applied the technique to imprinting a range of templates. These artificial binding receptors may become components of nanosensors. In addition, we study the nanomechnical properties of both imprinted and non-imprinted polymeric materials. Our application of imprinted polymer technology has led to the development of sensors for biological molecules (amino acids, proteins and markers), environmental contaminants (nicotine, CO, etc) and diagnostic tests.

Our computational work has examined the surface impact structures and dynamics of atoms with fullerenes and the binding of atoms and clusters to graphite. Currently, we are focusing on oriented films produced on metal and metal oxide surfaces, as well as chemical processes on selected gold surfaces and nanoparticles.

Finally, an emphasis on educational issues is part of the Dartmouth mission and course development is an additional focus.