"Applying conventional disciplines of chemistry to current and future issues."

Energy & Environment

surface interactions of a protein

Roger Acey's group is developing a novel technology for detection, removal, and recovery of toxic or precious heavy metal, e.g., mercury or gold. The patented technology is based on a unique metal binding protein known as metallothionein. The protein binds heavy metals very tightly but does not bind essential trace metals such as calcium or potassium. Moreover, the protein binds metal at extremes of temperature and acidity. These characteristics make the protein well suited to applications in water remediation, environmental clean-up, biotechnology, and healthcare.

a representative diagram

Shahab Derakhshan and his coworkers try to design and synthesize materials with superior functionality for energy conversion via some environmentally friendly processes. Their main focus in this area is devoted to the Thermoelectric Materials for power generation and cooling, medium band gap semiconductors for Solar Hydrogen Production, and advanced solid oxides as Fuel Cell Materials.

the working in a biochemical lab

Steve Mezyk and his research group are using radicals to clean-up chemically contaminated waters intended for re-use. These radicals are generated using advanced oxidation process technologies such as the electron beam, ozone with hydrogen peroxide and/or UV light, and TiO2/UV. Our interest is in the kinetics (how fast) and mechanisms (where) these radicals react. We have also applied these same studies to understanding the chemistry involved in the radiation-induced degradation of extraction chemicals used to reprocess waste nuclear fuel.

system design schematic

Hadi Tavassol's research group focuses on fundamental understanding and design of chemical interfaces, especially in electrochemical systems. The group fabricates materials, specifically designed toward interfacial processes, which are essential in the system level performance of electrochemical devices, and mimic biological systems. Students in the group use in-situ characterization techniques to elucidate the interplay of materials and function. Tavassol group members prepare inter-layers, thin films, and molecular assemblies and employ advanced electrochemical and laser spectroscopy techniques to study energy devices and biological systems.

tian research image 1

Fangyuan Tian's group is interested in methane capture from sea water by building selective metal-organic framework (MOF) thin films on various substrates, such as silicon, Al2O3, and glass. The stability of surface-anchored MOFs is tested in artificial sea water under different conditions. Methane uptake amount is measured by targeting MOF thin films in solution phase by quartz crystal microbalance. Cluster and periodic calculations are performed to mimic methane interaction with selective MOF materials in aqueous conditions.