Optical Spectroscopy & Microscopy

Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 April 2014 17:37

Faculty Member 

Felicia S. Manciu (Associate Professor)

Research Description

My research interests focus on optically and microscopically detecting and imaging neurotransmitters in brain tissue, and on tailoring the properties of organic-inorganic composite nanomaterials using Raman scattering, Fourier transform infrared absorption spectroscopy, photoluminescence, atomic force microscopy, and scanning near-field optical microscopy.  These studies, being of both fundamental and applied interest, provide important insights for procedure optimization in fabricating new materials and in developing reliable nano- and micro-structures that address the long-term and emerging research issues of technological applications, from nanoelectronics and nanophotonics to medical diagnostics.  Consistent with and supporting this affirmation is the broad range of collaborative projects that I have conducted at UTEP, which include:

  • Simultaneous, label-free detection of neurotransmitters using confocal Raman mapping;
  • Gaining new insights into the formation and prevention of kidney stones;
  • Characterizing highly energetic solid materials for use as rocket fuels;
  • Exploring ways of improving the characteristics of metal oxides and other materials for sensor and infrared device development;
  • Studying changes that occur in the submicroscopic structure of Maya pigments;

Research Support 

NSF-MRI                                         F.S. Manciu (PI)                     09/2007 – 09/2010
Acquisition of a Confocal Raman/AFM Hybrid System
The goal of this project was the acquisition of WITec alpha 300R confocal Raman/AFM/NSOM cutting‐edge instrumentation for education, research, and research training purposes.
DOD-MDA                                       F.S. Manciu (PI)                     01/2008 – 04/2010
Investigation of Al4H6/AlH3 Mixture for a High Energetic Solid Rocket Fuel
The overall goal of this research project consisted of synthesis, characterization and combustive analysis of high energetic materials for use as propellants.
DOE                                               F.S. Manciu (PI)                     01/2009 – 12/2013
Investigation of WO3-based H2S Sensor Materials for Coal Gasification Systems
The overall efforts of this project are to develop high-quality new sensor materials that are able to detect poisoning gases resulting from coal-gasification processes, especially H2S.
Mayo Clinic                                      F.S. Manciu (PI)                     09/2011 – 02/2014
Research agreement: Raman detection of neurotransmitters at physiological levels

Current and Past Group Members 

  • Aurelio Paez (G)
  • Jessica G. Salazar (G)
  • Celia Garcia (UG)

The external funding I secured greatly contributed to financial support for graduate students.  All my student alumni not only used advanced technology during their graduate studies, but they also acquired skills leading to their future employment in government, academia, and industry.

  • Jose Luis Enriquez, (Ph.D, 2012), Assistant Professor, Universidad Autonoma De Ciudad Juarez, Juarez, Mexico.
  • James Howard, (Ph.D, 2012), Veteran and minority disabled naval lieutenant.
  • Young Yun, (Ph.D, 2012), Assistant Professor, Seokyung Univiversity, Korea. 
  • Preethi Dacha, (M.Sc., 2011), Ph.D. student, The University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM. 
  • Luis Pinales, (Ph.D., 2010) - Chief of Mission Assurance and Training, Missile Defense Agency, Schriever AFB, CO. 
  • Jose Luis Enriquez, (M.Sc., 2010) – continued his Ph.D studies at UTEP. 
  • Jayesh Govani, (Ph.D., 2009) - Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of South Dakota, SD. 
  • Layra Reza, (M.Sc., 2009) - Electrical Engineer II, Raytheon Missile Systems, Tucson, AZ.
  • Claudia Huerta, (M.Sc., 2008) - Ph.D student, Health Science Center, San Antonio, TX. 
  • Francisco Carreto, (M.Sc., 2007) – Lecturer, El Paso Community College, El Paso, TX.