Polymeric Metal Assemblies for Solar Energy Conversion.

Dye-sensitized photoelectrochemical cells (DSPECs) convert energy from the sun directly to fuel. An essential component of a working DSPEC device is a light-harvesting material with relatively long excited state lifetimes, as observed for semiconducting polymer nanoparticles (PNPs). The use of hydrophilic pendant chains and hole-transporting polymers can enhance the stability of the metal chromophore assembly on metal oxide substrates and provide multiple chromophoric antennas that efficiently funnel excited state energy to metal oxide surfaces. To this end, we will pursue a reliable synthetic strategy for the design of a new class of amphiphilic light-absorbing polymer-based metal chromophore-sensitized macro-mesoporous metal oxide electrodes that will form the next generation of multipurpose energy conversion and solar fuel systems.

Ref.  J. Phys. Chem. C 2014, 118, 28535. ACS Energy Lett. 2016, 1, 339. ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2017, 9, 19529. Nano Convergence 20174, 37. ACS Appl. Energy Mater. 2018, 1, 62.

Photoinduced electron transfer initiation of free radical polymerization using visible-light.

Superabsorbent polymers (SAPs) have the capability to absorb and retain large volumes of water and aqueous solutions. The free radical polymerization reactions for SAPs are conventionally initiated by thermal decomposition and UV-induced photolysis. We study a highly efficient photoinduced free radical polymerization method for SAPs using metal complexes under mild reaction conditions with long lifetime LED sources. The overall objective of this project is to understand how a photoinduced electron transfer process in the presence of photosensitizer can influence the photoinitiation and formation of 3D-crosslinked acrylate-based SAPs using visible light.

SAP mechanismResearch - SAP -1

Ref. US Patent 9,029,480, US Patent 9,517,446, US Patent 9,656,296.

Polymer-brush-coated Magnetic Hydrogels for Water Remediation.

Synthesis of photocatalytic and/or magnetic nanoparticles for purification of contaminated water has been a rapidly growing application of nanotechnology in environmental science. We design and develop a high performance heavy metal ion (HMI, e.g. Cr(VI)) removal system by taking advantage of the easy separation and highly efficient HMI adsorption properties of polymer-coated magnetic hydrogels with long-chain aliphatic amines as polymer brushes. The key feature of the proposed strategy is the design of a superior HMI removal system featuring magnetic nanoparticles in three-dimensional polymer networks and long-chain amino-terminated magnetic hydrogels.


Ref. Crystal Growth and Design 2008, 9, 32. Chemical Communications 2009, 4989-4991.