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Grants in Action: Seattle University

Seattle University has been a beacon in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle for nearly 130 years. With its strong focus on scientific research, SU approached the Murdock Trust a few years ago to take its research facilities to the next level. A new Laser Spectroscopy User Facility creates a shared research space with leading-edge instrumentation where 200 students across the disciplines of chemistry, biology, mechanical engineering, and civil and environmental engineering can collaborate on research.

The equipment that forms the core of this new laser user laboratory includes a combined Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy/Raman Spectroscopy (LIBS/RS) instrument. Raman spectroscopy is commonly used to provide information on the form and shapes of various simple and complex molecules, while LIBS is used to identify the actual elements that make up a molecular or crystal sample.

The LIBS instrument, as well as others in this lab, is currently used in various faculty-mentored undergraduate research projects involving the monitoring and characterization of airborne pollutants. Students working on these projects learn to apply their classroom knowledge toward a relevant scientific objective and have the opportunity to share their findings at professional meetings.

The Murdock Trust is proud to support the advancement of scientific research at research institutes, like Seattle University, across the Pacific Northwest.