Nuclear Magnetic Resonance - Dr. DeSoto
Dr. Stewart DeSoto uses his solid state Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) lab to study both highly abstract physics ideas and also concrete practical engineering issues. The nuclear spins deep inside all materials can act like quantum mechanical bits (1's or 0's) to become the basic operating elements of a "quantum computer" which is exponentially more powerful than an ordinary digital computer. Physics majors Ben Kietzman and Andrew Golter have assisted Dr. DeSoto in the early stages of these experiments. A more practical application of NMR technology is to study a class of man-made materials called Metal Organic Frameworks (MOFs), which have metallic vertices and organic polymer linkers very much like a tinkertoy creation. Molecular hydrogen can diffuse deep inside these materials and attach weakly to the insides of giant pores. In this way, lots of hydrogen can be stored in a safe and efficient manner- to date, this has been one of the major obstacles to the "hydrogen economy" proposed by President Bush. Recent physics graduates Karen Kihlstrom and David Felker have helped Dr. DeSoto begin these experiments.