Student-Faculty Programs Office
Summer 2017 Announcements of Opportunity

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Project:  Supercritical CO2 Organic Extraction Efficiency Study
Disciplines:  Chemistry/Chemical Engineering, Instrument Development
Mentor:  Bryana Henderson, (JPL),, Phone: (818) 354-2416
Mentor URL:  (opens in new window)
Background:  With future in situ missions to Ocean Worlds now within reach, new instrumentation technologies are needed for accurate analysis of biomarkers and chiral species (potential indicators of life) from complex or unknown matrix materials. We are currently building a new instrument that combines our prior work in supercritical CO2 extraction with chromatography. This will enable us to extract and separate a wide variety of organics, including chiral species, from complex sample materials. The goal of this project is to extract, separate, and detect biomolecules from complex materials, including mixed ice/regolith (soil) and seawater samples. Successful demonstration of extraction and separation of biomolecules with this instrument will pave the way for future development of this technology for missions to icy worlds such as Europa.
Description:  The SURF fellow will conduct an analytical survey of biomolecule extraction efficiencies using our supercritical CO2 extraction system coupled with various analytical tools. Soil samples in either solid or aqueous form will be doped with known biomolecules and then extractions will be conducted at various temperature and co-solvent concentrations to determine the recovery yields.
References:  McCaig, Heather C., et al. "Supercritical Carbon Dioxide Extraction of Coronene in the Presence of Perchlorate for In Situ Chemical Analysis of Martian Regolith." Astrobiology 16.9 (2016): 703-714.
Kendall, Christian G., et al. "Amine Analysis Using AlexaFluor 488 Succinimidyl Ester and Capillary Electrophoresis with Laser-Induced Fluorescence." Journal of analytical methods in chemistry 2015 (2015).
Student Requirements:  Applicants who have backgrounds in analytic chemistry and experience in laboratory experimentation (especially pipetting, chromatography, mass spectrometry or other detection techniques) are encouraged to apply for this position.
Location / Safety:  Project building and/or room locations: . Student will need special safety training: Yes.
Programs:  This AO can be done under the following programs:

  Program    Available To
       SURF    both Caltech and non-Caltech students 

Click on a program name for program info and application requirements.

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Problems with or questions about submitting an AO?  Call Jen Manglos of the Student-Faculty Programs Office at (626) 395-2885.
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