My research is focused on design, bottom-up wet assembly, and modification of 3D-ordered functional nano- and microstructures by means of synthetic chemistry and surface engineering at all of the assembly stages. Surface engineering of the building blocks at each length scale is a powerful tool for guiding assembly dynamics of the system and providing functionality. In particular, I am interested in synthesis of well-organized materials using directed or self assembly of nanoblocks, such as metal oxides, polymers, small molecules, metals, and carbon. To achieve this I use various adsorption techniques, intercalation reactions, sol-gel chemistry, electrochemistry, template-assisted deposition and combination thereof. Potential applications of interest are structured multi-component electrodes for photo-catalytic water splitting and moderate temperature fuel cell membranes.
My research focuses on the use of layer perovskites as precursors to materials with interesting properties. To accomplish this, we use cation exchanged layer perovskites and exfoliate them into single sheets. The difficulty lies in reassembling the individual sheets back into a bulk material with the correct orientation. We are trying new methods which will hopefully yield highly ordered reassembled materials. Once the process is understood, we hope to be able to incorporate different materials into the reassembled one, thereby giving rise to a bulk material with new and interesting properties.
My current research focuses on improving the catalytic nanomotor system as well as discovering new propulsion mechanisms for nano- and micro-motors. This project addresses both the fundamental aspects of motion at small length scales, and potential bio-medical applications of microscale motors, such as drug delivery and minimally invasive surgery.
I am working on improving the optical harvesting capability of dye sensitized solar cells with inverse opal structures.
My research is focused on using nanodiodes to control charge recombination in layer-by-layer charge transfer systems. By retarding recombination, long-lived charge separated lifetimes can be obtained and these systems used for photochemical hydrogen evolution from water. I am also interested in preparing these systems on electrically conductive, high surface area supports.
I am interested in the self-assembly of nanorod/nanoparticle structures. Particularly, lyophilic and lyophobic interactions, particle-particle interactions, and particle-surface interactions. Surface patterning, such as soft-lithography, is being used to direct particle organization. Fundamental studies involving mixed SAMs are underway, as well as experiments related to molecular electronics applications
In my research I look at the use of nano-structured materials for the conversion of visible light into chemical and electrical energy. Currently I am attempting to prepare arrays of CdSe nanowires for use in photovoltaic solar cells. I have also looked at the photosensitization of, and the electron transfer in layered metal oxide semiconductor (LMOS) based nanostructures to be used as visible light water splitting catalysts.
My research focuses on the strength of interactions between metal nanoparticles and transition metal oxide supports. I will begin by using layered perovskites as the oxide support since they are easily exfoliated into single sheets. I will then use this knowledge to expand the research to other support systems.