Currently when chemists look at a nano-agglomerates through a microscope they are only able to see the nano-agglomerates in two dimensions. Because of this, researchers must make some sort of assumption as to the depth of the nano-agglomerates. As with most anything else that occurs naturally such as a tree or a cloud, it is not very easy to make an assumption about a nano-agglomerates depth. This inability to accurately portray a nano-agglomerate in three dimensions make it difficult to be able to determine how it interacts with other nano-agglomerates.
Rajan Chakrabarty along with Hans Moosmuller have been working for a number of years on a piece of software that attempts to solve this problem. The software uses an algorithm that Rajan and Hans are continuing to improve on in-order to determine the three dimensional properties of nano-agglomerates. Currently Rajan and Hans are attempting to determine the three dimensional properties of aerosol nano-agglomerates. Determining these properties will help researchers determine the affects these nano-agglomerates have on the atmosphere and how much they contribute to global warming.
Rajan began working on this problem as part of his dissertation for his PhD at the University of Nevada Reno. At the time, Hans was working as Rajan’s doctoral advisor. Along with the help of an undergraduate by the name of Mark Garro, the three began developing the algorithm for their software. In 2008 Rajan obtained his PhD and filed a patent for the algorithm. After getting his PhD, Rajan was offered a faculty position with the Desert Research Institute.
Since being hired at the Desert Research Institute, in addition to developing his image analysis software with Hans, Rajan has published a number of papers suggesting best practices for the image analysis community. Hans and Rajan are continuing to perfect their software. Currently the software is free to download off of the internet.
In the future Hans and Rajan hope to sell their software to a microscope manufacturer. The proprietary software could then be included with the sale of the microscopes. Currently Hans and Rajan have been designing their software for 3D modeling of aerosols, but in the future they believe that this software could have a number of different applications.
Image from dri.edu