Our planet has only one energy input: The sun. The Earth receives this energy through sunlight, and we should harvest as much of this energy as possible. Dyes are generally good at absorbing light, due to their molecular structure, and chelating dyes to metal atoms can lead to the formation of novel complexes with new and unusual reactivity patterns or physical properties. Using metal/dye complexes, the energy from visible light will be used to drive chemical reactions, forming fuels or fine chemicals.
Organic materials lend our lives many conveniences, through wood and paper products, plastics, and even displays for TVs and tablets. In this line of research, organic materials will be designed and synthesized that self-assemble from solution into solids with useful properties such as charge conduction, selective sensing, or electricity generation.
Small Molecule Activation Catalysts
How best can we take molecules with relatively inert chemical bonds and use them as reliable reagents? Which conditions are required to most efficiently turn carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, into bicarbonate, a food additive, or even carbonate, a natural mineral? Can we rationally design catalysts that select certain inert bonds over others in a complex molecule? We will seek answers to these questions and more in the field of small molecule transformation.
The Huckaba Research Group
Research in Organic Chemistry and Organic Materials