David Brook

David Brooks with student

Dr. Brook demonstrates how to load and unload metallo-organic compounds from a physical property measurement system to Arshia Hamzehpour Savojbalaghi, ’22 Biology (concentration in Systems Physiology). The system measures the magnetic properties of samples and how they change in different temperatures, from approximately 400K (344° Farenheit) to 50K (–369.4° Farenheit).

Uncovering applications for unique molecular substances

David BrookDavid Brook and his students are investigating and developing new molecules and materials that can switch between electronic or magnetic states as a result of controllable external stimuli. In addition to increasing fundamental understanding of the science of such systems, their work may uncover sophisticated applications for the molecular substances created in Dr. Brook’s lab.

“I’ve always been interested in molecules that are unusual — that don’t behave the way most molecules do,” Brook says. 

One of the materials he is examining is a metallo-organic compound with switchable magnetic properties. That is, the magnetic properties change dramatically depending on external influences such as temperature and light. “As we gain a greater understanding of these substances, we hope to use them in more complicated systems where, for example, change in the magnetism of one molecule may trigger a change in its neighbor. They may eventually have applications as sensors, in information storage at the molecular level, and in molecular or quantum computing.”

Students participate in Brook’s research at all levels — from completing measurements, to synthesizing new materials, to presenting at national and international conferences such as American Chemical Society national meetings and the International Chemical Congress of Pacific Basin Societies. His students have continued on to graduate studies at McGill University, UC Irvine, UCLA, UC Merced, UC Riverside, UC San Diego, and the University of Nebraska, as well as going into industry at companies including Apple and Gilead.

“After gaining this interest in research, my ultimate goal is to work towards becoming a clinician scientist by applying to M.D.-Ph.D. programs.”

Arshia Hamzehpour Savojbalaghi
’22 Biology (Concentration in Systems Physiology)