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Chemistry Students Received Drinko Research Grants

Posted on Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Westminster College students Hannah Anderson and Allison Rice received undergraduate research grants from Westminster's Drinko Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning.

Their research, "Microwave-Assisted Hydrothermal Synthesis of Lutetium Oxyorthosilicate (LSO)," is conducted under the supervision of Dr. Peter Smith, Westminster associate professor of chemistry.

LSO is the most common detector used in PET scans, a type of nuclear medical imaging used to produce three-dimensional structure of certain biological processes in the body.  The current method of producing LSO is time-consuming and requires a significant amount of energy.  Two alternate methods, one using microwave energy and one using conventional heating, have been proposed to provide more energy-efficient options for synthesizing LSO.

Anderson and Rice are synthesizing samples using both alternate methods to determine any structural differences in the LSO produced by the two methods.  They are using powder x-ray diffraction for analysis.

Anderson, a junior biochemistry major, is a daughter of Mark and Barbara Anderson of Tarentum and a graduate of Oakland Catholic High School.

Rice, a sophomore chemistry and mathematics major, is a daughter of Paul and Diane Rice of Poland, Ohio, and a graduate of Poland Seminary High School.

Contact Smith at (724) 946-7299 or email for additional information.