We are pleased to welcome Dr. Amy Hofmann to the Chemistry Department. Amy will join the faculty as our Inorganic Chemist starting July 1, 2013 and will begin teaching General Chemistry in the Fall 2013 semester. She will teach Inorganic Chemistry in the Spring 2014 semester.
First and foremost, I’m both thrilled and honored to be returning to my alma mater. Franklin & Marshall has an incredibly strong tradition of mentoring students. I know I thrived in such an environment, and I look forward to carrying that tradition forward with intellectually curious students eager to do science. The breadth of research and analytical facilities available to scientist-educators at F&M is among the best I have seen at a liberal arts college, and the range of interests and expertise among my future colleagues indicates great potential for generating new knowledge through intra- and inter-departmental collaborations.
My research centers on elucidating the molecular-scale mechanisms that govern the incorporation of impurities into solids during crystal growth. Impurities can alter the chemical and physical properties of both naturally occurring and engineered materials by disrupting the crystal lattice structure and symmetry, resulting in bulk and interfacial properties different from those of the pure (i.e., impurity-free) phase. Quantifying the kinetics and thermodynamics of impurity incorporation in condensed phases is fundamentally important if we want to better understand processes like biomineralization and heavy-metal sequestration in the environment, or phase stability during materials synthesis. To these ends, potential projects in my group include: experimentally quantifying the growth and dissolution rates of environmentally important minerals like calcite and barite in the presence of multiple, different impurity species; identifying and evaluating the stability and decomposition kinetics of the mineral phases that crystallize from such solutions; and using molecular simulations to determine the rate constants for attachment and detachment of various impurity species at the mineral surface.