CAREER: Photoinduced Electron Transfer Processes in Self-Assembled Inorganic Nanomaterials
David Watson Principal Investigator
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This CAREER award by the Inorganic, Bioinorganic, and Organometallic Chemistry Program supports work by Professor David Watson at the University at Buffalo to study the photochemistry of self-assembled inorganic nanomaterials. The materials consist of quantum dots attached to metal oxide films through molecular linkers. The first study involves electron injection from photoexcited quantum dots into the metal oxide semiconductor. Time-resolved spectroscopic measurements systematically probe the influence of the composition, morphology, and physical properties of materials on the kinetics and efficiency of interfacial electron transfer processes. These fundamental studies may impact the design of quantum dot solar cells and nanostructured photocatalysts for solar energy conversion. The second area of research involves the photochemical degradation of surfactant molecules and its application towards the site-selective deposition of nanoparticles onto metal oxide surfaces. This photochemical patterning strategy addresses a significant challenge in nanofabrication, which is to control both short-range and long-range order within nanostructured materials. The research is integrated with an educational outreach program, in which Buffalo high school and middle school students engage in nanomaterials research projects. The outreach program creates expanded mentoring networks and promotes interest in science education and careers especially focused on the inclusion of Native American students. Other educational projects will include the development of a writing-intensive graduate course on the chemistry and physics of nanostructured materials and the initiation of a nanomaterials research forum at the University at Buffalo.