Skip to content. Skip to main navigation.

Fall 2014

Inquiry Magazine Archive

  • Spring 2016

    Spring 2016: Premium Blend

    Found in everything from space shuttles to dental fillings, composite materials have thoroughly infiltrated modern society. But their potential is still greatly untapped, offering researchers ample opportunity for discovery.

  • Fall 2015

    Fall 2015: Collision Course

    Within the particle showers created at the Large Hadron Collider, answers to some of the universe’s mysteries are waiting.

  • Spring 2015

    Spring 2015: Almost Human

    Model systems like pigeons can help illuminate our own evolutionary and genomic history.

  • Fall 2014

    Fall 2014: Small Wonder

    UT Arlington's tiny windmills are bringing renewable energy to a whole new scale.

  • Winter 2014

    Winter 2014: Overdue for an Overhaul

    The stability of our highways, pipelines, and even manholes is reaching a breaking point.

  • 2012

    2012: Mystery solved?

    Scientists believe they have discovered a subatomic particle that is crucial to understanding the universe.

  • 2011

    2011: Boosting brain power

    UT Arlington researchers unlock clues to the human body’s most mysterious and complex organ.

  • 2010

    2010: Powered by genetics

    UT Arlington researchers probe the hidden world of microbes in search of renewable energy sources.

  • 2009

    2009: Winning the battle against pain

    Wounded soldiers are benefiting from Robert Gatchel’s program that combines physical rehabilitation with treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.

  • 2009

    2007: Sensing a solution

    Tiny sensors implanted in the body show promise in combating acid reflux disease, pain and other health problems.

  • 2006

    2006:Semiconductors: The next generation

    Nanotechnology researchers pursue hybrid silicon chips with life-saving potential.

  • 2005

    2005: Imaging is everything

    Biomedical engineers combat diseases with procedures that are painless to patients.


Putting the Pieces Together

Chemist using National Science Foundation grant to examine the relationship between small molecules and metal ions 

Dr. Dias lab

Understanding how metals interact with organic compounds could help scientists create better textiles, plastics, anti-freezes, and even prescription drugs.

Distinguished Professor Rasika Dias received a three-year, $450,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to explore how metal ions like gold and silver bind with small molecules like carbon monoxide, acetylenes, and ethylene.

“Metal ions are essential for our existence. Natural processes like nitrogen fixation and photosynthesis depend on them, but they also play a key role in numerous industrial processes,” explains Dr. Dias, who is also chairman of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. “What we are trying to do is to understand how certain metals act as catalysts and create a lower energy pathway for bond-breaking and bond-making to occur.”

With that new knowledge, scientists could improve existing chemical processes, which might help them obtain product yields under milder conditions. The research may even uncover a way to direct chemical reactions to a completely new pathway. That could lead to more useful products and molecules, such as pyrroles and furans, which are important to the pharmaceutical industry.

More articles from this issue

UT Arlington - Office of Research