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Exploring Organic Frameworks for Use as Integrated Artificial Photosynthetic Assemblies

Friday Oct 19

2:00 PM - 3:00 PM @ Young Hall 302

Speaker: Amanda Morris
From: Virginia Tech

Title: Exploring Organic Frameworks for Use as Integrated Artificial Photosynthetic Assemblies

Abstract: The finite supply of fossil fuels and the possible environmental impact of such energy sources has garnered the scientific community’s attention for the development of alternative, overall carbon-neutral fuel sources. The sun provides enough energy every hour and a half to power human civilization for an entire year. However, two of the remaining challenges that limit the utilization of solar energy are the development of cheap and efficient solar harvesting materials and advances in energy storage technology to overcome the intermittent nature of the sun. In the seminar, the research projects to be discussed focus on the development of an integrated artificial photosynthetic array for solar energy storage. Photosynthetic systems consist of light harvesting arrays and redox mediators that can funnel the electrochemical potential stored in a molecular excited states to catalytic centers to drive the oxidation of water and the reduction of CO2 to sugars. Many artificial approaches to this chemistry have been reported. In the Morris group, we investigate porous coordination networks (PCNs) as both light harvesters and high surface area catalysts as photosynthetic mimics. PCNs combine the synthetic diversity possible with molecular catalysts and the ease of recovery of heterogeneous catalysis. Theoretically, the high surface area of PCNs can be exploited to produce a higher catalytic rate per geometric area than those realized by other approaches. Additionally, the incorporation of molecular chromophores into networks has been show to lead to enhanced luminescence quenching. Our studies span the scope of artificial photosynthetic chemistry and include mechanistic investigations of homo-resonance energy transfer, electron transport, and catalysis within PCNs.