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Faculty Profile:  Dr. Timothy BrewerDr. Tim Brewer


Work in the Brewer research group currently centers on the synthesis and characterization of nanoparticles of various metals such as silver, gold and their alloys.  Different synthetic methods can be used to produce nanoparticles of various sizes, from 10 nm to 100 nm in diameter, and in various shapes such as spheres, rods, and wires.  The figure below shows the variety of colors nanoparticles can form in solution.  The wide array of colors allows the tailoring of nanoparticles for various applications based on their optical absorption properties.  

 Nanoparticle Solutions

The characterization of nanoparticles is important in determining their suitability for use in applications such as photovoltaic cells, pigments for suntan lotions, and the development of biological sensors (e.g., measuring the glucose concentration in blood).  The Brewer lab primarily utilizes absorption (visible) and fluorescence spectroscopic techniques in order to characterize the interactions between the nanoparticles and other chemicals.

 The group's most recent activity has been to study the color change experienced by nanoparticles in various solvents.  The particular solvent (e.g., water, toluene, or chloroform) surrounding the nanoparticles can cause a shift in the spectra of the nanoparticles.  Insight into these solvent-nanoparticle interactions can be applied to the development of biological sensors.  Another active project has been to measure the changes in the fluorescence intensity when nanoparticles interact with a variety of biologically important molecules.  The first molecule studied was thiamine and it was possible to quantity the amount of thiamine present down to the parts per million range.  Current investigations are ongoing utilizing amino acids such as tryptophan and phenylalanine. 


Dr. Brewer teaches general chemistry and physical chemistry.  His favorite subject to teach is quantum chemistry because of its many applications in the world.  For example, quantum mechanics is important in the fields of computer cryptography, laser development, and molecular & atomic imaging.  Quantum mechanics is also a very thought-provoking subject where one has to ponder a realm where a particle’s position is never certain and a particle may exist in two different states at the same time.

HobbiesDr. Tim Brewer and Noe Erasga

Dr. Brewer’s favorite hobby is tennis and he is a tennis junkie during the summer months.  This past summer, he captained two tennis teams at Huron Valley Tennis Club and both teams won the Ann Arbor league with 8-0 records.  One of those teams came in second place at the Southeast Michigan districts.  Recently he won a doubles tournament in Perrysburg, Ohio with his partner Noe Erasga, pictured at left. 


FamilyJennifer and Timothy Brewer

Dr. Brewer’s lovely wife, Jennifer, pictured at right, is a graduate of EMU.  She is presently a professor of early childhood education at Concordia University in Ann Arbor.  About her, Dr. Brewer states, “She is my source of energy and encourages me in all my endeavors whether it be teaching, research, or even tennis.  I have three wonderful children, Matthew, Katherine, and Lauren.  My kids are a source of pride and I enjoy watching them grow up and spending quality time with them.”


“I love my experience here at Eastern Michigan University and appreciate the opportunity to work with the development of young budding scientists.”


- Posted October 3, 2014.


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The Department of Chemistry is part of the College of Arts & Sciences, 214 Pray-Harrold