"Technologically-relevant electron-molecule interactions: From bio-molecules to bio-fuels," Friday, November 14, 12:00pm, MH 606

Dr. Darryl Jones, Flinders University, Australia

Since the identification that low-energy electrons, produced when ionizing radiation strikes living tissue, can induce both single- and double-strand breaks in DNA,1 there has been a community-wide effort to understand how free electrons can interact with key molecular components found in biological systems.   Here we will present an overview of some of the electron scattering techniques and the results we have obtained relating to electron-interactions with biologically relevant molecules.2,3  Here the fundamental electron scattering data with key molecular building blocks bridges our understanding to what may be happening in more complex systems, like living tissue.   We have now started applying this same strategy as a method for improving biofuel production. Here we are investigating how free electrons, formed in electron beams or non-thermal atmospheric plasmas, may assist in the breakdown of complex biomass to yield high-value chemicals. Achieving improvements in the cost-effectiveness of biofuel production is a key component in realizing renewable and sustainable bio-refineries.
1. B. Boudaiffa, P. Cloutier, D. Hunting, M. A. Huels and L. Sanche, Science 287, 1658 (2000).
2. Z. Masin, J. D. Gorfinkiel, D. B. Jones, S. M. Bellm and M. J. Brunger, J. Chem. Phys. 136, 144310 (2012).
3. D. B. Jones, et al., Chem. Phys. Lett. 572, 32 (2013).
4. A. J. Ragauskas, et al., Science 311, 484 (2006).