Chemistry Major Presents Poster at Annual Undergraduate Research at the Capitol Conference

Michael Esposito was among the many undergraduate students from 102 Pennsylvania colleges and universities invited to the 16th Annual Undergraduate Research at the Capitol conference in Harrisburg, PA.

As the spring semester is beginning to wind down, Michael Esposito headed to our state’s capitol in Harrisburg on Tuesday, April 17th, to present a poster on his research at the 16th Annual Undergraduate Research at the Capitol conference (URC-PA). The mission of the Undergraduate Research at the Capitol of Pennsylvania involves students engaging members of the Pennsylvania House and Senate.

The poster session held in the East Wing Rotunda in the Capitol Complex was an opportunity for Pennsylvania college students to discuss their research with state senators and house representatives. Michael’s poster title was Evidence of Next-Nearest-Neighbor Electronic Coupling in a Series of Trans-Fe(Ii)-Pt(Iv)-Ru(Ii) Cyano-Bridged Timers, research conducted under the mentorship of Dr. Brian Pfennig. Michael’s poster showcased this research for our legislators. As Michael explained,

“My poster presentation was about optically induced charge transfer in mixed valence compounds, which contain three metal centers. Basically, if we shine light on the compounds that I work with, we can move an electron from one metal center to its nearest-neighbor (the metal right next to it). However, our group found that if you change the chemistry of these compounds, we can observe next-nearest-neighbor charge transfer, in which the two metal centers that are farthest away from each other exchange an electron after absorbing low-energy light. This type of long-range electron transfer is important for many applications including dye-sensitized solar cells, molecular switches, and understanding long-range electron transfer in biological systems”.

Michael spent the day in the Pennsylvania capitol, sharing experiences and ideas with students from other schools, and enlightening our state legislators on the topics that are important to them and our society.