EEE Candidate: Dr. Rebecca Halvorson Lahr

Event Date: February 24, 2014
Sponsor: EEE
Speaker: Dr. Rebecca Halvorson Lahr
Time: 9:30 AM
Location: ARMS 1021
Contact Name: Nina Robinson
Raman Spectroscopy for Environmental Analyses


Due to an ever-increasing global population and limited resource availability, there is a constant need for detection of both natural and anthropogenic hazards in water, air, food, and material goods. Traditionally a different instrument would be used to detect each class of contaminant. In this seminar the unique ability of Raman spectroscopy to detect organic, inorganic, and biological analytes in complex media will be discussed. In environmental waters, drop coating deposition Raman (DCDR) facilitated detection of microcystins in environmental waters at environmentally relevant concentrations. Within algal cells, SERS produced 3D cellular images in the presence of intracellularly biosynthesized gold nanoparticles (AuNP), documenting in detail the molecular vibrations of biomolecules at nanoparticle surfaces. The capabilities of Raman spectroscopy are endless in light of portable instrument production and nanomaterial developments. Future research plans will be highlighted regarding analytical method development and beyond.


Dr. Rebecca Halvorson Lahr is an environmental chemist and engineer from the Environmental Nanoscience and Technology Laboratory at Virginia Tech where she recently completed her PhD. Two degrees in Environmental Engineering from Virginia Tech alongside a BS in Chemistry from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse have honed Dr. Lahr’s interest in applying fundamental chemistry to solve environmental engineering challenges. Her previous research endeavors funded by EPA STAR, NSF, American Water Works Association, Gates Foundation, and the Center for the Environmental Implications of NanoTechnology include investigation of hydrogen bonding and peptide folding, pollutant fate in environmental waters, cyanobacterial byproduct detection, microfluidic paper-based analytical devices, and nanotechnology for analytical method development.