Christine DeVries

Associate Professor of Chemistry

More about Christine DeVries

B.A., Luther College
Ph.D., University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Courses Taught
CH 113 Principles of Chemistry I
CH 114 Principles of Chemistry II
CH 315 Quantum Chemistry
CH 316 Chemical Thermodynamics & Kinetics
CH 461 Science Seminar (Capstone Course)

Areas of Research Interest: Nanotechnology

My primary research interests are in exploring things too small to see with your eyes. More specifically, I am interested in exploring the curious physical properties of nanometer-scale materials.

The current research project aims to examine the behavior of a Langmuir film – a one-molecule-thick layer on the surface of water. As student researcher Sarah Matt explains to her friends, “We have a new molecule that we spread on the surface of water, Then we squish them and see what happens.” Recording the physical properties of these nearly two-dimensional arrangements of molecules helps us explore the competing forces within and between molecules.

Understanding monolayer films on the surface of water also serves as the first major step towards our larger goal: using monolayer films as lubricants for microscopic machines. The second step is to deposit the thin film onto a solid substrate. This requires a bit of experimental finesse and some equipment I am excited about using. Once we have a glass slide or silicon wafer to support the monolayer we may examine the film with a wider variety of instrumentation.

With a solid substrate under our film we can use Frictional Force Microscopy to explore the frictional properties at the nano-scale. These final measurements will show us if our particular molecule serves as a good lubricant. From the data obtained at all three major steps of the process, we may find specific characteristics that work well and characteristics we would like to improve as we design our next molecule to study.

I am also interested in supporting student-initiated research projects. Do you have an idea you want to explore? I would love to help you answer your own research questions!