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Thai Exchange Students Conduct Research on Campus

February 8, 2010
By: Worcester State University News

Four students from the exchange program between Worcester State College and Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok were on campus from October through the end of January to work on their senior research projects.

This was a collaborative project between Margaret Kerr (Chemistry) and Supawan Tantayanon at Chulalongkorn. The students joined Kerr’s research class, Fundamentals of Chemical Research (CH 495) in the fall with nine other WSC students. The four exchange students then continued on the project after the semester ended.

Kerr and the exchange students are working on a project titled “Synthesis of Greener Polymers.” The purpose of the work is to make photoactive polymers that have solubility in water. These can be used for photo resists and other types of applications that would require this type of property. Water solubility is important as it saves having to ‘etch’ the polymer in production with an organic solvent (also known as VOC’s). Once the polymer is manufactured and turned into the desired form, it is then irradiated with UV light to make an insoluble polymer that still retains the photoactive properties.

Funding for the project came from the mini grant program and equipment was purchased by the Stoddard grant.

The work that was done by the Thai students and WSC students will be presented at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society in San Francisco in March. Kerr currently has three WSC students working on the project as independent study.

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