The David and Lorraine Freed Undergraduate Research Symposium: Victoria Berard

Victoria Berard
"Scalable Biosynthesis of Semiconductor Nanocrystals using an Engineered S. maltophilia Strain"
Department: Chemical Engineering
Advisor: Professors Bryan Berger and Steve McIntosh

Semiconductor nanocrystals (quantum dots; QDs) have unique optical properties that make them attractive for use in biomedical imaging, photovoltaics , lighting and display technologies. While commercial interest in using these materials is high, the prohibitive cost associated with their chemical synthesis has limited their commercial use. Current chemical processes require high operating temperatures, high pressures and toxic solvents for synthesis, which increases both operating costs and environmental clean-up costs. Thus, in order to realize the potential of semiconductor nanocrystals in commercial technologies, improved methods for their cost-effective, scalable synthesis is required.

In this study, we describe the directed evolution of a gram-negative bacteria, Stenotrophomonas maltophilia, to produce cadmium sulfide (CdS) nanocrystals (quantum dots; QDs) directly from cell culture. By producing nanoparticles through biosynthesis, we will be exploring a novel, less expensive way to produce these catalysts. Biological synthesis procedure operates at low temperatures, ambient pressures, thereby reducing capital costs associated with large-scale production. If we were able to produce these particles efficiently, inexpensively, and on a large scale, we could potentially produce QDs at a scale and cost compatible with commercial applications such as photovoltaics and biomedical imaging, and do so with little environmental impact.

About Tori:
Tori Berard is a senior at Lehigh University graduating with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and a minor in Business. She has been working for almost two years as a Research Assistant for Professor Berger and Professor McIntosh in the Chemical Engineering Department. Her researched has focused on the production of quantum materials through biosynthesis. In addition to working in a lab, Tori has been a member of the Society of Women Engineers, a Residential Advisor, a member of the Women’s Cross Country team, and a long distance runner on the Women’s Track & Field team at Lehigh.

Research Poster

Click here to view the poster

Undergraduate Research Symposium Results

Congratulations to this year's
winner of the Symposium:

Nadia Krook, "In Vitro Examination
of Poly(glycerol sebacate)
Degradation Kinetics: Effects of
Porosity and Cure Temperature"

2nd Place: Isaac Lavine

3rd Place: Michael Beddow
and Matthew Tessitore

People's Choice: Corrin Pimentel

"Turning The Tables On Learning"

Dean David Wu's latest contribution in the February 25, 2013 issue of the Brown & White covered a variety of topics, including the Undergraduate Research Symposium's impact on past graduates.