Dr. Samokhvalov Awarded $560k for Advanced Research Equipment

The XploRA PLUS Confocal Raman Microscope
Confocal Raman Image of a pharmaceutical emulsion.

Dr. Alexander Samokhvalov, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, has been awarded a new major grant from the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Army Research Office (ARO) for his project, “Acquisition of Advanced Vibrational and Optical Spectroscopy and Imaging System for Interdisciplinary Materials Research, STEM Education, and Outreach.” The project aims to outfit the School of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences (SCMNS) with a unique, state-of-the art system of research equipment for comprehensive spectroscopic and microscopic characterization of advanced nanomaterials, biomaterials, hazardous compounds, and their interactions.

Dr. Alexander Samokhvalov
Dr. Alexander Samokhvalov

At the heart of this system of research equipment is a new confocal Raman microscope, the XploRA PLUS with CytoViva hyperspectral imaging system and multiple accessories, which produces detailed images of microscopic samples by exposing them to lasers and measuring the electromagnetic spectra that absorbed and emitted by the materials. The system also includes upgrades to the existing Fluorolog-QM fluorescence spectrometer with enhancements to cool samples for greater accuracy, to expand the range of electromagnetic spectra that it can measure, and to increase the speed of measurement to capture ultrafast phosphorescence and decay.

The system will have a wide array of interdisciplinary applications and will significantly enhance the research capabilities of the departments of Chemistry, Physics and Biology. As the Principal Investigator (PI) on the project, Dr. Samokhvalov leads a team of eight faculty from these departments as Co-Principal Investigators (Co-PIs) to acquire and implement the system. The system will be especially beneficial for faculty research on the development and characterization of nanomaterials, including nanoscale sensors for the detection of hazardous materials of interest to the Army Research Office, and the environmental impact of hazardous compounds on living systems at the cellular and molecular levels. It will position Morgan State faculty to pursue further research collaboration with and support from the DoD, and it will provide a first-class vehicle for training underrepresented minority students in advanced research and prepare them for rewarding careers in STEM.

This award is Dr. Samokhvalov's second major grant from the DoD, the first having been awarded in July 2020 for his project, "Aluminum metal-organic frameworks based on metalloporphyrins and sorption of archetypal organosulfur compounds," which is providing a total of $452,896 throughout July 31, 2020 to July 30, 2023. This instrumentation award will provide $560,446 in support over the period of May 1, 2021 to April 30, 2022.