In this project funded by the Macromolecular, Supramolecular and Nanochemistry Program of the Chemistry Division, Francis D'Souza of the University of North Texas, Denton will conduct multidisciplinary research on light energy harvesting supramolecular assemblies of carbon nanostructures. This research is focused on three main topics: (1) construction and study of broad band capturing, charge stabilizing 'antenna-reaction center' models, (2) band gap dependent photoinduced charge stabilization in donor-acceptor hybrids comprised of diameter sorted carbon nanotubes, and (3) development of supramolecular donor-acceptor nanohybrids of graphene.
The broader impacts involve training undergraduate and graduate students, disseminating research results through publications and presentations at national conferences, and enhancing research infrastructure through establishing national and international collaborations. The project will advance our fundamental knowledge on utilization of all-carbon based nanomaterials such as fullerene, nanotubes and graphene for photochemical applications and could have significant impacts in the fields of supramolecular chemistry, nanomaterials, nanotechnology and solar energy harvesting devices.
In this project funded by the Macromolecular, Supramolecular and Nanochemistry program of the Division of Chemistry, Professor Francis Dâ€™Souza and his research team from the University of North Texas along with the collaborators were involved in developing photo-active supramolecular materials for light energy harvesting. During this funding period, this team has developed novel supramolecular approaches of sensitizer/nanocarbon hybrids composed of broad band capturing (for maximum utilization of sun light), visible/near-infrared sensitizers coupled with all-carbon materials such as graphene, carbon nanotube and fullerene. In specific, supramolecular functional materials capable of generating long-lived charge separated states have been designed and synthesized. The role of covalent and non-covalent interactions on the mechanistic and kinetic aspects of photoinduced electron and energy transfer, the key parameters of solar energy harvesting materials, have been established from systematic studies involving ultrafast spectroscopy. Our findings have helped in gaining better understanding of the inter-relationship between supramolecular structures and electron transfer properties in solution and at the material/electrode interface. The broader impact of our research include strengthening research, teaching, and leadership skills of graduate and undergraduate students through innovative interdisciplinary research with domestic and international partners, and augmented by disseminating research findings through presentations at conferences and publications in peer-reviewed journals. The research collaboration between UNT and scientists from Japan, Finland and Poland is continue to serve as a platform for advancing research and educational activities at the international front.