Physical Chemistry Research
Francois G. AmarHome - Teaching
CLUSTERS: My main research interests have been in cluster
structure and dynamics. Using methods of computer simulation such as
molecular dynamics and Monte Carlo, I have investigated a wide variety
of cluster phenomena including solvation dynamics and spectral
signatures of solvation (SF6Arn,
melting of microclusters (Arn
photodissociation dynamics and caging in both neutral and ionic clusters
and evaporation processes in rare gas clusters. A detailed investigation
into evaporation processes, comparing simulation results with various
levels of rate theory led us to speculate that the melting transition in
"magic" clusters could be pinpointed by experiments designed to measure
the kinetic energy release in the evaporation process. Other recent work
includes the structure of mixed rare gas clusters such as XenArm--we
have modelled the photoelectron spectra of these clusters measured by a
group in Sweden.
Current work in this area involves the
development of two-temperature models of nanoclusters of gold and other
metals to explore the effect of the high thermal conductivity of metal
on shape changes during and following cluster collisions as well as
plasmon heating effects.
CATALYSIS and RENEWABLE ENERGY: I work with the Forest
Bioproducts Research Institute (FBRI) to help develop metal oxide
catalysts for hydrodeoxygenation. Using ab initio and density functional
methods we are exploring the mechanism of oxygen removal from aldehydes,
ketones, and alcohols using oxygen deficient metal oxide bronzes such as
H1.29WO2.77 to act as Bronsted acids by providing
H atoms to molecules that are adsorbed at oxygen vacancies.
Chemical Education Research
I am a founding member of the University of Maine's
Center for Research in STEM Education (RiSE
Center) and a member of the leadership team for Maine Physical
Science Partnership, a $12.3M NSF-funded project to enhance the
grades 6-9 physical and earth science curricula. Some specific projects
- GESTURE ANALYSIS IN CHEMISTRY: We have used gesture
analysis to explore aspects of embodied cognition in chemistry with
particular emphasis on the use of gestures as interactional resources
for teaching and learning in teacher-student dyads. See the January
2015 JCE publication referenced below. We have also used socially
constructed enactments of chemical phenomena to explore student
thinking about topics like the levels of the hydrogen atom.
- ANALOGICAL THINKING IN THE CHEMICAL LABORATORY: Using
analogies in the laboratory to develop connections between macroscopic
observations and microscopic explanations. See
the Summer 2015 JCE publication referenced below.
- INTERCHEMNET: The University of Maine's Chemistry
project provides an infrastructure for making networked chemical
instrumentation such as UV-vis and FT-IR spectrometers accessible to
all the students in our general chemistry program. It also is a
platform for gathering research data about student thinking.
Understanding of Analogy in a CORE (Chemical Observations,
Representations, Experimentation) Learning Cycle, General
Chemistry Experiment, Shirly Avargil, Mitchell R.M. Bruce,
Francois G. Amar, Alice Bruce, Journal of Chemical Education, published
online August 13, 2015. DOI:
influence of zinc(II) on thioredoxin/glutathione disulfide
exchange: QM/MM studies to explore how zinc(II) accelerates
exchange in higher dielectric environments, Roby Kurian,
Mitchell R.M. Bruce, Alice E. Bruce, and Francois G. Amar,
Metallomics 7, 1265-1273
(2015). DOI: 10.1039/C5MT00070J
Attention to Gesture when Students Talk Chemistry: Interactional
Resources for Responsive Teaching, Virginia J. Flood, Francois G.
Amar, Ricardo Nemirovsky, Benedikt J. Harrer, Mitchell R. M.
Bruce, and Michael C. Wittmann, Journal of Chemical
Education, 92(1), 11-22, 2015.
dynamic and energetic of mixed transition metal clusters: A
computational study of mixed clusters of silver and nickel,
J.W. Hewage, W.L. Rupika, and F.G. Amar, The European Physical
Journal D 66, 282 (2012).
Gallery Mode Emission Generated in Tunable Quantum Dot Doped
Glycerol/Water and Ionic
Liquid/Water Microdroplets Formed on a Superhydrophobic Coating,
E. Nuhiji, F.G. Amar, H. Wang, N. Byrne, T-L Nguyen, and T.
Lin, Journal of Materials Chemistry 21(29),
of Tungsten Oxide Bronzes Active for Hydrodeoxygenation,
T.J. Thibodeau, A.S. Canney, W.J. DeSisto, M.C. Wheeler, F.G.
Amar, B.G. Frederick, Appl. Catal. A: General (2010), 388,
Hydrodeoxygenation of Acrolein on a Cluster Model of MoO3,
Daniel R. Moberg, Timothy J. Thibodeau, Francois G. Amar, and
Brian G. Frederick, J.
Chem. C 114,
ACS link to the cited article may be found here
Using the workshop model for
modular, student-centered leader training, Amar, F.,
Stewart, B.N., Fortin, H., Bruce, M.R.M. (2009). Progressions: The
Peer-Led Team Learning Project Newsletter, Volume 10, Number 3,
Spring. Formerly online at http://www.pltl.org.
Combined PDF of this article and five training modules and
accompanying faculty guides available: PLTLTraining2009Combined.pdf
Challenges and Rewards of
Offering Peer Led Team Learning (PLTL) in a Large General
Chemistry Course, Barbara Stewart, Francois G. Amar,
Mitchell R.M. Bruce, Australian Journal of Education in Chemistry
67, 31 (2007).
InterChemNet: An Integrated
Instrumentation and Web-based Course Management System for the
General Chemistry Laboratory, Barbara Stewart, Robert Kirk,
David Labrecque, Francois G. Amar, Mitchell R. M. Bruce, J. Chem.
Ed 83(3), 494 (2006).
Simulating the photolectron
spectra of rare-gas clusters, Francois G. Amar, James
Smaby, Thomas J. Preston, J. Chem. Phys.
122, 244717, (2005).
, Copyright (2005) American Institute of Physics.
This article may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other
use requires prior permission of the author and the American
Institute of Physics. AIP link to the cited article may be found here
Modular Leader Training:
Materials Under Development, Mitchell R. M. Bruce, Francois
G. Amar, Barbara Stewart, Progressions: The Workshop Project
Newsletter, Vol. 5 (1), Fall, 2003.
Structural Motifs and Stability
of Small Argon-Nitrogen Clusters, Jinasena W. Hewage and
Francois G. Amar, J. Chem. Phys. 119(17), 9021
The structure of mixed
nitrogen-argon clusters: A comparison of simulation results with
experimental electron diffraction patterns, Jinasena W.
Hewage, Francois G. Amar, Marie-Francoise de Feraudy, and Gerard
Torchet, European Physical Journal D 24, 249
Surface heterogeneity and
diffusion in the desorption of methanol from WO3,
S. Ma, F.G. Amar, and B.G. Frederick, J. Phys. Chem. A107,
On the use of evaporation
dynamics to characterize phase transitions in van der Waals
clusters: investigations in aniline(argon)n up to
n=15, P. Parneix, F.G. Amar, and Ph. Brechignac, Chem.
Phys. 239, 121. 1998.
Structure, Dynamics, and
Spectroscopy of Aniline-(Argon)n Clusters. I.
Experimental Spectra and Interpretation for n=1-6, S.
Douin, P. Parneix and Ph. Brechignac and F.G. Amar, J. Phys. Chem.
A 101, 122. 1997.
Isomer Specific Evaporation
Rates: The Case of Aniline-Ar2,
P. Parneix, Ph. Brechignac, and F. G. Amar, J. Chem. Phys., 104,
Infrared Spectroscopy of
Solvated Molecules, F. G. Amar, L. Perera, S. Goyal, D. J.
Levandier, and G. Scoles, in Clusters of Atoms and Molecules,
H. Haberland, ed., Springer Series in Chemical Physics,
Springer-Verlag, New York, 1994; Vol. 56, pp 19-43.
Evolution of the Spectroscopic
Properties of Hg and Hg2
Interacting with Molecular Clusters,
C. Dedonder-Lardeux, S. Martrenchard-Barra, C. Jouvet, C., D.
Solgadi, and F.G. Amar, Laser Chemistry 14, 61,
Absolute Classical Densities of
States for Very Anharmonic Systems and Applications to the
Evaporation of Rare Gas Clusters, S. Weerasinghe and F.G.
Amar, F. G., J. Chem. Phys. 98, 4967, 1993.
Quantum Calculation of
Vibrational States in the Aniline-Argon van der Waals Complex,
P. Parneix, N. Halberstadt, Ph. Brechignac, F.G. Amar, A. van der
Avoird, and J.W. van Bladel, J. Chem. Phys. 98, 2709,
Jason Bakelaar (MST, 2015)
Kelsie York (B.S.,
James Clark (B.S.,
Roby Kurian (Ph.D., 2013)
Virginia Flood (MST,
Chris Goodwin (BS, 2012)
Tim Thibodeau (Ph.D.,
Maggie Hutchinson (MST,
Carly Matthews (BS, 2011)
Matt Leland (MST, 2006)
TJ Preston (BS, 2006)
Jue Wang (Bangor High, 2005)
Barbara Stewart (Ph.D., 2004)
James Smaby (2001-2004)
Hewage (Ph.D., 2002)
Jinglin Yang (M.S., 1997)
(Ph.D., University of Paris, 1993)
Nadarajah Ravindrakumar (M.S., 1993)
Samantha Weerasinghe, (Ph.D., 1992)
Perera, (Ph.D., 1990)
Evan Bieske (University
(University of Paris)
(University of Maine)
Alice Bruce (University
Florent Calvo (University
(University of Maine)
Ricardo Nemirovsky (San
Diego State University)
Edin Nuhiji (Deakin
(University of Paris)
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