Our principal interests are in the interaction of light with molecules and materials, working toward artificial photosynthesis, photoredox catalysis, bio-nanocomposite materials, novel fuels, and phototherapeutics.

Students working with us learn chemical synthesis, analytical methods (UV-Vis, photoluminescence, Raman, IR, electrochemistry, and electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy), advanced spectroscopic methods with collaborators at Montana State University and the University of Illinois, and computational chemistry. Our group accepts Cal Poly undergraduates from all levels and with a wide range of interests and majors.

Dithiocarboxylate photochemistry

Dithiocarboxylate containing compounds absorb light throughout the visible and near-UV region of the spectrum. They have a high density of states which contributes their rapid relaxation following excitation. We are currently looking for Cal Poly undergraduates to help us investigate the photochemistry of these compounds in collaboration with Dr. Haynes at Cal Poly. Series of dithiocarboxylate salts powders and solutions

Dithiocarboxylate complexes

Dithiocarboxylates bind to transition metals through their sulfur atoms. The resulting coordination compounds have new features in the ultraviolet-visible region of the spectrum. The complexes can also have interesting magnetic and electrochemical properties. Finally, dithiocarboxylate complexes with transition metals crystalize in ways that trap molecules in the lattice. We have several on-going collaborations investigating these properties.

Applied computational chemistry

We are interested in understanding the electronic excited states that give rise to properties of the substances we make. We use density functional theory (DFT) to build models that help us explain those observations. We have high performance computing resources for carrying out these calculations: LIGERZ (8-core, 16 GB RAM), GRIZLE (16-core, 64 GB RAM), RABEL-GZU (16-core, 64 GB RAM). We also have access to high performance clusters at Cal Poly. Students collaborate closely with experimentalists to benchmark compuational methods and develop custom models.

Instrument design

With the rise of low cost solid state light sources (LEDs, laser diodes) there is more access to high-quality, monochromatic light than ever before. We prototype and build light sources for carrying out photochemistry. Students on these projects will design and build light sources. Specifications include adjustable fluence and stable, long illuminations.