Lehigh University
Lehigh University

News

Selected Media Coverage: February 10, 2006

The Sweet Smell Of Nano-success Cleaner Method Of Making Spices, Perfumes Moves One Step Closer
01/30/2006 - ScienceDaily (cir. )

George DuPaul on Geraldo-At-Large
01/26/2006 - WUPW-TV (cir. )

Celebrating the coming year together is even better!
01/04/2006 - Jingan Daily (cir. )

New Year Celebration
01/03/2006 - Liberation Daily (cir. )

New Year Celebration
01/02/2006 - New Peoples' Evening Paper (cir. )

Is Nexus Awash?
01/01/2006 - Phi Delta Kappan (cir. 90,293)


The Sweet Smell Of Nano-success Cleaner Method Of Making Spices, Perfumes Moves One Step Closer
01/30/2006 - ScienceDaily (cir. )



Return to Top
Materials scientists at Lehigh University and catalyst chemists at Cardiff University have uncovered secrets of the 'nanoworld' that promise to lead to cleaner methods of producing, among other things, spices and perfumes.

The materials scientists, headed by Christopher Kiely of Lehigh, have determined the structure of a type of gold-palladium nanoparticle, which is the active component of a new environmentally friendly catalyst that promotes the oxidation of primary alcohols to aldehydes.

The researchers reported their results Jan. 20 in Science magazine, one of the world's top science journals. The article was titled 'Solvent-free oxidation of primary alcohols to aldehydes using titania-supported gold-palladium catalysts.'

The oxidation of primary alcohols to aldehydes is of fundamental importance to the chemical, pharmaceutical and perfume industries.

The oxidation of aromatic primary alcohols, such as vanillyl and cinnamyl alcohol, is of particular importance in the manufacture of perfumes and flavorings. Almost 95 percent of the worlds' vanilla (vanillyl aldehyde) is synthetically manufactured.

Benzaldehyde is also a key intermediate in the production of many fine chemicals in the agrochemical and pharmaceutical industries.

Such oxidation reactions have always been performed using permanganates or chromates, but these reagents are expensive and have serious toxicity issues associated with them. This new catalyst, consisting of gold-palladium nanoparticles dispersed on a titanium oxide support, allows this reaction to take place using oxygen under mild solvent-free conditions.

The new catalyst system was developed by a group headed by Prof. Graham Hutchings at Cardiff University in the United Kingdom.

'Determining the structure of the gold-palladium nanoparticle will help us understand how this catalyst works at the atomic level,' says Kiely, who directs the Nanocharacterization Laboratory at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa.

'This will inevitably enable us to optimize its performance and will subsequently lead to the development of other gold-based catalysts.'

Samples of the catalyst were studied by Andrew Herzing, a Ph.D. candidate in materials science and engineering in Lehigh's Center for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology (CAMN). Herzing used Lehigh's VG HB 603 aberration-corrected scanning transmission electron microscope (STEM), which enables energy dispersive x-ray data to be collected from individual nanoparticles.

'Our aberration-corrected STEM is unique in that it has an extremely small and intense electron probe. It also has a very high collection efficiency for the x-rays generated,' says Kiely.

The original microscope was purchased almost a decade ago but was fitted only last year with a spherical aberration corrector designed to overcome distortions in the lenses that focus the electron beam. This has led to a significant improvement in resolution.

'Before being fitted with the aberration corrector, this microscope held the world record for spatial resolution in x-ray elemental mapping at two nanometers (two billionths of a meter),' says Kiely.

'Now, with the aberration corrector, it achieves an elemental mapping resolution of half a nanometer, approximately the width of two atoms.'

Even so, obtaining chemical information from the tiny gold-palladium particle is difficult because the x-ray signal from a palladium atom is far weaker than the signal from a gold atom. There are also signals from the titanium oxide support.
Under normal circumstances, the palladium signal would be lost in the noise.

To overcome this, Masashi Watanabe, a research scientist in the CAMN, has developed software based on multivariate statistical analysis combined with a spectrum imaging technique. While scanning for a particular element, Watanabe's software compares all the signals generated from an area and automatically identifies features in a particular signal dataset (in this case, a characteristic palladium X-ray signal).

Watanabe's automated approach significantly reduces the amount of random noise both in the signal and background. While a similar methodology has been in use for some time, Watanabe's program reduces the data analysis time from several hours to a few minutes.

Elemental maps collected from individual nanoparticles revealed that the palladium signal originates from a slightly larger spatial area than that of the corresponding gold signal. From this, Kiely's team concluded that the nanoparticles have a core-shell structure in which a palladium-rich shell surrounds a gold-rich core.

Even though the outer shell is palladium rich, this gold-palladium catalyst significantly outperformed a similar catalyst comprised solely of palladium. It is proposed that the gold acts as an electron promoter for the palladium, thus enhancing the nanoparticle's catalytic properties.

'Correlating a particular catalyst's performance with detailed structural and compositional data consistently proves to be a powerful methodology for understanding catalytic reactions,' says Kiely.

Kiely has been collaborating with Hutchings for more than 10 years. The Lehigh-Cardiff team published an article titled 'Tuneable gold catalysts for selective hydrocarbon oxidation under mild conditions' in Nature magazine on Oct. 20.

This story has been adapted from a news release issued by Lehigh University.


George DuPaul on Geraldo-At-Large
01/26/2006 - WUPW-TV (cir. )



Return to Top
George DuPaul was interviewed as part of a story on Indigo Children that appeared on WUPW-TV (Fox-Toledo), WTXF-TV (Fox-Philadelphia) and WNYW-TV (Fox-New York).

Reporter: Critics of the faith-based Indigo children movement include mainstream doctors, scientists, psychologists, and educators. They are concerned not only with its valr />
On 12 November 2004, the Commonwealth Court issued its decision, not only affirming but adopting as its reasoning the entire opinion of the trial court.1 The basis of said opinion was the following Pennsylvania statute: "The (school) board . . . may adopt and enforce . . . reasonable rules . . . regarding the conduct . . . of all pupils . . . during such time as they are under the supervision of the board . . . and teachers, including the time necessarily spent in coming to and returning from school."

Pointing to a previous case in which the court had interpreted this statute to enjoin a school board from enforcing its "full faith and credit" policy that would have prevented a student who was on expulsion from another school entity to enroll in the district, the court determined that D.F. was not under the district's supervision at the time of the incident and thus was beyond the school board's disciplinary authority under the governing legislation. Although acknowledging that the culminating event occurred on school property, the court conduded, "(w)e can discern no connection whatsoever between the playground incident and the concert at the high school which concluded at least VA hours prior to the incident." Further, the court pointed to the absence of Pennsylvania precedents establishing that "in loco parentis" extends beyond the district's supervisory authority or that "on school property" equates to "under the (district's) supervision."

Finally, the court rejected the district's remaining argument that the planning of the incident took place while D.F. was under the school's supervision. Distinguishing a prior decision in which the Commonwealth Court upheld the authority of a district to expel a student who offered and sold marijuana to another student during class but delivered it off campus, the court reasoned that here 1) the school board's expulsion decision rested solely on the school playground conduct and 2) the evidence did not show a plan, or integral transaction, akin to the prior case.2 In concluding dicta, the court commented:

(W)e are sensitive to the challenges facing a school district when exercising its authority to provide a safe and drug-free environment. . . . But we have not been called upon to assess the sincerity or diligence of the School Board's decision or the Administration's efforts. Our obligation is to assess whether the School Board has acted within the parameters of its authority provided for by the Legislature.

REPORTING that the district did not seek review by Pennsylvania's highest court, Allan Start, who successfully represented the student in this case, views the lesson of the case as generalizable: "First and foremost, examine whether the district has jurisdiction; don't assume it." While recognizing differences among the states with regard to the specific language of enabling legislation, he argues against a broad interpretation of the district's jurisdictional authority: "If you assert the right to discipline students 24/7, you have the corresponding responsibility for providing them with proper supervision 24/7."

Indeed, although only the decision of Pennsylvania's intermediate, appellate court, this decision is literally remarkable for at least two interrelated reasons. First, in this time of national concern with safety and security, including the war on drugs and weapons in schools, it is relatively unusual for a court not to accord deference to the disciplinary decisions of school officials in a drugrelated case. In this column, we have witnessed a long line of examples of almost knee-jerk deference.3

The second reason, which overlaps with the first, is that a classic common law concept in school law, dating back to the mid-1900s,4 is that the key to the district's disciplinary authority is the nexus to school operations. As Connecticut's highest court explained in 1925, the true test is "not the time or place of the offense, but its effect upon the morale and efficiency of the school."5 The "in loco parentis" doctrine is not dead in the public school context,6 but it is subject to statutory limitations. In some cases, the statute is relatively flexible, and the court is relatively deferential.7 In others, as this case illustrates, the wording of the statute and the particular posture of the judges result in viewing the common law doctrine as codified and bounded by the legislation, rather than leaving an opening for a more elastic nexus test.8

Of course, the student did not escape consequences in this case, at least in terms of the juvenile justice system, but his joint experience with Mary Jane and education law seems to "just say no" to zero-tolerant overreaching by school authorities.

In this time of national concern with safety and security, it is relatively unusual for a court not to accord deference to the disciplinary decisions of school officials in a drug-related case.

1. D.O.F. v. Lewisburg Area Sch. Dist. Bd. of Educ., 868 A.2d 28 (Pa. Commw. Cr. 2004). I obtained supplementary information via telephone and e-mail communications in late October 2005 with attorney Allan H. Starr, who represented the plaintiff student. Attorney Lester H. Greevy, who no longer represents the district, declined to cooperate with my requests for information and comment.

2. More specifically under the second point, the court reasoned: "We cannot conclude thata 'do you have the money' inquiry without more is adequate to support the contention that the plan, conspiracy, or agreement to obtain and use marijuana on school property was hatched while (the four students) were under the District's supervision."

3. See, for example, Perry A. Zirkel, "'Constitutionalizing' Detentions," Phi Delta Kappan, April 2005, pp. 639-40; idem, "A Web of Disruption?," Phi Delta Kappan, May 2001, pp. 717-18; idem, "Urinalysis?," Phi Delta Kappan, January 1999, pp. 409-10; idem, "The Midol case," Phi Delta Kappan, June 1997, pp. 803-4; idem, "Supporting Suspenders," Phi Delta Kappan, November 1994, pp. 256-57; idem, "Another Search for Student Rights," Phi Delta Kappan, May 1994, pp. 728-30; idem, "Stripping Students of Their Rights," Phi Delta Kappan, February 1993, pp. 498-501; and idem, "The Pendulum Swings on Expulsion Hearings," Phi Delta Kappan, December 1988, pp. 334-35.

4. Landerv. Seaver, 32 Vt. 114 (1859).

5. O'Rourkev. Walker, 128 A. 25 (Conn. 1925).

6. See, for example, Perry A. Zirkel and Henry Reichner, "Is In Loco Parentis Dead?," Phi Delta Kappan, February 1987, pp. 466-69.

7. See, for example, Howard v. ColonialSch. Dist., 612 A.2d 362 (Del. Super. Ct.), aff'd mem., 625 A.2d 531 (Del. 1992) (upholding discipline for off-campus drug dealing).

8. For illustrations of the variety, see, for example, Perry A. Zirkel, "Discipline for Off-Campus Misconduct," Principal, September 2000, pp. 70-71. Even in cases based on constitutional rather than common law or statutory grounds, the nexus to school is one factor, with others including the severity of the discipline and the nature of the misconduct. Compare Fenton v. Stear, 427 F. Supp. 767 (W.D. Pa. 1976), with Klein v. Smith, 635 F. Supp. 1440 (D. Me. 1986).

PERRY A. ZIRKEL is University Professor of Education and Law, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pa.
Copyright Phi Delta Kappa Jan 2006
Illustrations; References

Posted on Friday, February 10, 2006

share this story: