Metal-Metal Bonding: Transition (d-block) and lanthanide (f-block) metals contain valence electrons in different orbitals from nonmetals, resulting in differences in bonding and reactivity. Many of the most impressive reactions and materials, from the active sites of photosynthesis and nitrogen fixation to ultra-high strength steels, involve the interactions of two or more metals. These materials often take the form of either bulk solids, made from trillions of metal atoms together, or discrete metal complexes, made primarily from nonmetal linkers (ligands). My research focuses on isolated interactions between metal centers of different elements in close proximity: heterobimetallic chemistry. Using the tools of physical and inorganic chemistry and materials science, my group studies the way light moves electrons between metal centers.
Heterobimetallic Catalysis: Transition metal catalysts can speed and control reactions, but often rely on expensive metals like platinum or rutheniuim to do so. Heterobimetallic complexes use multiple metal atoms in combination to pursue similar transformations with lighter, more common metals.
Solar Energy Conversion: My research also focuses on the challenges of developing metal systems that harness sunlight, converting it to electricity or chemical fuels. Metal complexes are excellent absorbers of light; when this occurs, the density of electrons in the molecule is shifted. This unstable state is called a charge transfer state; understanding how metal complexes behave while in a CT state can lead to improved molecules that produce more useful energy.
Air-free synthesis of mutli-metal complexes and materials related to solar energy fixation using air-free techniques.
Resonance Raman spectroscopy of multi-metal complexes to identify the motions associated with charge transfer states.
Time-correlated single-photon counting fluorescence spectroscopy to measure the excited-state lifetimes of transition and lanthanide materials.
Theoretical simulations of multi-metal systems using density functional theory.
Lab Affiliate, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, 2017
Ph.D. Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley, 2013
B.S. Chemistry, Trinity College, 2008
Ph.D. in Chemistry
B.S. in Chemistry
Regularly Taught Courses:
- CHEM103: General Chemistry
- CHEM104: General Chemistry
- CHEM352: Inorganic Chemistry Lab
- CHEM403: Advanced Inorganic Chemistry