Our research leverages metal-ligand interactions for the synthesis of new photo- and electroactive coordination-based materials. Students gain a broad set of skills ranging from organic and inorganic synthesis to device fabrication and testing.

Polymers of Intrinsic Microporosity

Nano-scale porosity has the potential to address diverse challenges in thin-film device applications. However, few porous materials are solution-processable; those that are generally lack the conductivity needed for such devices. In this project, we develop methods to synthesize porous, solution-processable polymers having functional electronic and optical properties. We leverage metal-ligand and cluster-ligand interactions that support long-range electro/optical interaction along the polymer chain. Our work will be applied towards photon energy upconversion and electronic sensing schemes.

Schematic of PIM Synthesis

Synthesis of New 2D Materials

Two-dimensional (2D) materials have properties unique to their dimensionality. The isolation and study of graphene and subsequent exploration of a multitude of inorganic 2D materials has revealed electronic, optical, and mechanical characteristics unavailable in 3D counterparts. We are exploring new ways to synthesize 2D materials using coordination chemistry, focusing on those materials whose chemical bonding precludes the exfoliation processes typically associated with van der Waals-bound, layered materials. Newly synthesized materials will be deployed to solve challenges in areas as diverse as kinetic separations and high-performance transistor devices.

Schematic of 3D Lattice Deconstruction

Cluster Assemblies

Ligand-protected metallic, II-VI, and III-V clusters can exhibit chemical, electronic, and magnetic properties distinct from those of smaller mononuclear and larger nanoparticle analogues. However, difficulties in predictably organizing these clusters in the solid state have limited the study of their bulk materials properties as well as their practical utility. We are examining ways to incorporate ligand-protected clusters into macromolecular materials useful for applications in semiconductor devices and catalysis.

Schematic of Cluster Assembly into 3D Lattice