My research is centered on the synthesis and design of atomically defined nanoclusters that act as clean energy catalysts. The aim is to study the catalyst-support interface in catalytic systems by utilizing metal chalcogenide clusters that feature transition metal edge sites. This serves as a model for heterogeneous catalysts, which themselves are resistant to precise characterization and mechanistic elucidation. I will synthesize and study compounds that feature a cobalt selenide core with pendant organic ligands, aiming to construct a pocket on the surface of the cluster where transition metals may bind. Studying the behavior of earth-abundant metals such as iron and cobalt in this system via methods such as NMR spectroscopy and X-ray crystallography should provide insights into the nature of the metal-support interaction in catalytic systems.
Advisor: Alexandra Velian – Chemistry