Department(s): IAMDN Executive Committee
Chemical and Biochemical Engineering
Chemistry and Chemical Biology
Research Page: Link
Research Interests: (1) the design, synthesis, and self-assembly of novel inorganic nanomaterials and organic-inorganic hybrid nanostructured and nanoporous materials and nanobiomaterials; (2) catalysis and nanocatalysis; (3) nanomaterials for biological, medical, and biosensing applications; and (4) nanomaterials for solar cell applications.
The primary research activities in my group focus on (1) the design, synthesis, and self-assembly of novel inorganic nanomaterials and organic-inorganic hybrid nanostructured and nanoporous materials and nanobiomaterials; (2) catalysis and nanocatalysis; (3) nanomaterials for biological, medical, and biosensing applications; and (4) nanomaterials for solar cell applications. Our nanomaterials are typically chosen to have multifunctional groups as well as novel structures and shapes at the nanometer scale. Uncovering the structure-property relationships as well as the potential applications of these materials for catalysis, nanoelectronics, separations, sensing, biosensing and drug delivery is also part of our research program.
Specific areas of interest:
(1) Nanoparticles and core-shell nanoparticles with novel structures and multifunctional groups and their properties and applications: The properties of nanomaterials whose sizes are only a few billionths of a meter have unique properties that are neither bulk nor molecular and can be tuned via the size, shape, and structure of the materials. We are interested in the synthesis and self-assembly of inorganic and core-shell nanoparticles having new structures. By introducing multifunctional organic, organometallic, or biological groups into such nanostructured materials, we create new classes of nanomaterials with unprecedented and potentially useful properties for nanoelectronics, sensing, biological imaging, and targeted drug delivery.
(2) Multifunctional self-assembled monolayers on surfaces and nanoparticles and their self-assembled structures: Self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) on various substrates have potential for several technological applications. Our research deals with the synthesis of multifunctional SAM structures using functionalized organosilanes and alkanethiols. We are interested in the fundamental self-assembly studies of these multifunctional molecules on various substrates as well as the potential of such SAM structures for nanopatterning of molecular electronic devices and for catalysis and sensing applications. Furthermore, we explore the self-assembly various metallic and semiconducting nanoparticles and nanorods into anisotropic nanostructures.
(3) Catalysis and nanocatalysis: Our lab is developing new methods to efficient and recyclable heterogeneous nanoporous and nanostructured catalysts for various one step and multi-step tandem catalytic transformations. The cost of these new catalysts is relatively low because they are made from commercially available materials, are very effective in chemical transformations and can be reused numerous times. We developed methods to some of the most efficient and selective nanoporous catalyst for base catalyzed reactions such the Henry and aldol condensation reactions. This catalyst significantly improves the yield of the Henry reaction and selectively produces nitro alcohol or nitrostyrene product. The catalyst is expected to find application in pharmaceuticals such as aliskiren, which is used for the treatment of hypertension and high blood pressure.
(4) Multifunctional nanoporous and mesoporous materials for catalysis and drug delivery: The bottom-up synthesis of nanostructured and mesoporous materials using templates can create various new classes of nanomaterials. Our research in this area focuses on the combination of "hard templates" with "self-assembly" to produce multifunctional nanoporous and mesoporous nanospheres. Using these materials, we investigate host-guest inclusion, immobilization of enzymes for biocatalysis, and adsorption and delivery of anti-cancer drugs and chemical species.
(5) Nanomaterials for cancer treatment: We study the adsorption and release of anticancer drugs with nanostructured and nanoporous materials and the biological, cytotoxicity, endocytosis, phagocytotosis and anticancer properties of the nano-drug conjugates on various cancer cell lines. Furthermore, by placing antibody and other bioactive functional groups around the nanomaterials, we study their potential for effective treatment of various forms of cancer.
(6) Dye sensitized solar cells: we develop synthetic methods to mesoporous materials using water-extractable polymer templates, which are subsequently used to fabricate efficient dye or nanoparticle sensitized solar cells. In collaboration with Prof. Eric A. Schiff’s group (Physics Department, Syracuse University), we have successfully made highly ordered 3-dimensional mesoporous titania based solar cells.