Department of Chemistry
Chevron Science Center
219 Parkman Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
Materials Chemistry, Theoretical and Computational Chemistry, Advanced Functional Materials, Computational Materials Design, Inorganic Synthesis
Our group develops new materials, as well as microscale and nanoscale functional devices literally from the bottom up. We focus on building electronic materials from molecular subunits, both organic and inorganic, using a variety of techniques to rationally design the desired properties. This encompasses chemical synthesis, characterization (both physical and chemical), combined with theoretical modeling and simulation.
Piezoelectric materials rapidly deform in response to an applied electric field and are one class of a wide variety of shape-deformable smart materials. They are both high-tech and low-tech, finding applications as airbag impact sensors, sonar transducers, and nanoscale positioning of scanning probe microscopy tips.
We are developing a range of novel single-molecule “springs” which show high piezoelectric deformation and point to new directions in shape-deformable materials. These systems also reveal insight into weak electrostatic interactions and conformational changes involved in crystallization and protein folding.
Organic conducting and semiconducting materials offer alternatives to conventional solid-state electronics, including unique processability and tailorability using conventional chemical synthesis. Their disordered structure, however, makes many standard analytical techniques difficult. For example, characterization of traps and defects in standard organic semiconductors can be extremely difficult, so their role is unknown.
Our group is developing model nanoscale transistors which allow carefully tailored introduction of known defects. We combine detailed electronic and electrochemical studies of monolayer transistors, synthesis of new semiconducting inorganic complexes, and molecular-level simulation of charge transport. This combination gives insight into the role of defects in transport, with the goal of developing improved semiconducting and conducting electronic materials.
Cottrell Scholar Award, 2012
Class of 1960 Lecturer, Williams College, 2012
Blue Obelisk Award in Cheminformatics, 2006
IBM Computational Chemistry Award of the American Chemical Society, 2002
Northwestern University Materials Research Center Fellowship, 2001-2003