- Assistant Professor
- Research 1 Bldg., 262A
Dr. Popolan-Vaida research focuses on understanding the fundamental chemical processes involved in the atmospheric and combustion chemistry. Specifically, one of the projects focuses on investigating the effect of airborne soil organic particles (ASOP) on the chemical balance of the atmosphere. Airborne organic particles are often recognized as powerful nano-factories that provide sites for condensation and surface-mediated heterogeneous reactions of gases that can dramatically impact the atmospheric composition. The ultimate goal of this research program is to develop a predictive capacity for the fate of different airborne soil organic particles during the atmospheric processing as a function of their size, composition, and hygroscopicity as well as to link ASOP properties to their possible effects on climate.
Understanding the fundamental chemical processes that govern combustion phenomena offer the opportunity to optimize combustion for improved engine efficiency and minimization of pollutant formation. The second research direction of Dr. Popolan-Vaida’s laboratory focuses on understanding the fundamental hydrocarbon oxidation reaction with the ultimate goal of designing new alternative fuels. It uses a jet stirred reactor, which currently represents the best way to realistically simulate the chemical transformations in combustion engines under well-defined conditions of temperature and pressure.