With support from the Solid State and Materials Chemistry program in the Division of Materials Research, the goal of this research is to create a new generation of crystalline porous semiconducting materials for energy and environmental applications. The integration between high surface area and semiconducting properties makes these new materials especially useful as efficient adsorbents and photocatalysts for applications including adsorption and solar-energy-driven conversion of carbon dioxide into fuels such as methane. The research has broad impact because it blends together and contributes to various fields such as photocatalytic materials, semiconducting nanoparticles, cluster chemistry, and porous materials. The PI is actively involved in various educational and training programs for undergraduate students. The project combines diversity in materials synthesis and various characterization and measurement techniques.

Technical Abstract

The overall objective of this research is to develop highly stable crystalline porous chalcogenides that integrate high-surface area and uniform porosity with semiconductivity and optoelectronic properties and to study various properties and applications ranging from selective gas sorption, visible-light responsive photoelectrodes, to photocatalysis and electrocatalysis. By integrating synthetic and structural principles from metal chalcogenide chemistry and nanoporous solids, this research seeks to employ templated multi-component co-assembly processes to create a new generation of chemically and photochemically stable chalcogenide-based crystalline porous semiconductors. Specifically, the research aims to utilize heterometallic chalcogenide systems and structural and functional diversity of organic species to control structures of chalcogenide clusters and frameworks and to tune their semiconducting and optoelectronic properties. This project helps to develop and advance a new area of cross-disciplinary research at the interface between semiconducting materials and nanoporous solids. The project explores a new frontier dealing with unique porous and semiconducting materials based on chalcogenide building blocks. The activity provides the fundamental understanding about key factors in the synthetic design and optimization of crystalline porous semiconductors. Students in this project benefit from excellent training opportunities in synthesis, materials characterization, and property measurements.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Materials Research (DMR)
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Birgit Schwenzer
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University of California Riverside
United States
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