Philip Grandinetti, chemistry professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, College of Arts and Sciences, has been awarded a 2023-2024 Fulbright U.S. Scholar Award to Italy for "Revealing Medium-Range Glass Structure with Paramagnetism." From February – April 2024, Grandinetti will be at the Università degli Studi di Firenze researching the atomic-level structure of glass, particularly focusing on medium-range structures.
“During my time in Florence, my primary goal will be to develop new magnetic resonance methodologies to help us probe the microscopic structure of glasses. The idea is to add small amounts of paramagnetic ions to the glass as a kind of contrast agent. This will enhance our ability to extract structural features at the atomic level,” Grandinetti explained. “I'll be working with scientists at the Centro Risonanze Magnetiche (CERM) at the University of Florence, who have been pioneers in using paramagnetic tags in NMR spectroscopy to probe long-range structures in molecular biology. My goal is to develop machine learning techniques that can provide a more complete structural analysis of magnetic resonance data from glassy materials.”
The project utilizes advanced multi-dimensional Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, combined with machine learning techniques, to analyze the structure of glasses. Despite the widespread use and technological importance of glass, details about its atomic structure, especially beyond short-range order, are not well understood.
“A key aspect of the project is the use of paramagnetic dopants in glasses to enhance NMR signals, enabling more detailed structural insights. This approach has the potential to transform our understanding of glass structures and could lead to significant advancements in various fields, including materials science, biology, and technology,” Grandinetti reflected.
In addition to conducting research, Grandinetti will teach students at the University of Florence about the theoretical and practical aspects of NMR spectroscopy. He also plans to build and strengthen research connections between Ohio State, the University of Florence, and other institutions, including those in Southern Italy.
“Reaching out to the southern region is vital as it brings diverse academic perspectives and enriches research. It is also important because the region faces different economic challenges than in the northern area of the country. Southern Italy has higher rates of unemployment and fewer resources allocated to research and education,” Grandinetti noted.