Our research is focused on three areas:(1) "Ultrafast" electron transfer dynamics in inorganic mixed valence complexes, (2) molecular electronics and nanoscience, and (3) catalysis of atom transfer chemistry, especially the chemical and electrochemical conversion of carbon dioxide.
Ultrafast electron transfer. A class of inorganic charge transfer complexes with electronic structures that can be tuned from completely delocalized to tightly localized is under investigation. At the delocaization limit, rates of intramolecular electron transfer in these systems can be so fast that coalescence of infrared spectral features occurs in a manner reminiscent of dynamic NMR, but on a picosecond (vs. millisecond for NMR) time scale. The dynamics probed by this simple IR method track solvent dipolar response, and can be developed as "reporters" of local dynamics. We expect that the fundamental knowledge gained can be applied to the rational design of "electronically wired" metal complexes and "molecular devices".
Molecular Electronics and Nanosensors. The field of "molecular electronics," i.e. electronic devices fabricated from molecular components, is being pursued as a method to achieve high density, uniform devices for computational and sensor applications. We are studying bistable molecular electronic devices that can be switched under lelectrostatic bias. "Chemresistor" environmental sensors are under investigation. Our research addresses fundamental questions about molecular electronics and seeks to develop applications of new systems constructed from molecules, metallic nanoclusters, biological molecules, and appropriate semiconductor device layers.
Atom Transfer Chemistry of Organometallic Complexes. The goal of these studies is to utilize CO2, an abundant greenhouse gas, for the ultimate manufacture of more complex and useful organic molecules including isocyanates di-alkyl carbonates. These efforts have concentrated on CO2 activation and reduction of CO2 by chemical, photochemical, and electrochemical means, and the development of catalysts for transforming CO2 to organic products. We are employing semiconductor devices with appropriate band energies to photochemically "split" CO2 to CO and O2.