The Chemical Structure, Dynamics and Mechanisms Program and the Chemical Measurements and Imaging Program in the Chemistry Division at the National Science Foundation support Professor Dennis Lichtenberger of the University of Arizona, for photoelectron spectroscopy studies of Fe-S clusters as related to solar fuels (H2) production. The goal of this work is to understand the fundamental principles of electron transfer reactions of such catalysts, synthesized in the PI's laboratory and in others. Evaluation of Marcus theory parameters for these reactions will lead to a better understanding of catalyst structure and function at the molecular level, and develop criteria for higher efficiency solar fuels generators.
Broader impacts of the research include driving innovation in solar energy applications, and contributing to scientific infrastructure by developing next-generation instrumentation and methods for photoelectron spectroscopy of large molecules. The Lichtenberger laboratory will provide access to these capabilities for other researchers, and develop curricula for undergraduate education. This laboratory has had significant success in recruiting undergraduate students, women, and underrepresented minorities into the program, including those from the Hispanic and Native American populations in the Tucson area.