The Sadtler research group is interested in how hierarchical structure of materials from the atomic level to nano- and meso-scale can be used to control their physical properties and chemical reactivity.
The Sadtler research group is interested in how the structure and morphology of nanoscale materials can be tuned to control their physical properties and chemical reactivity. Research projects in our group combine the chemical synthesis of inorganic materials and tailoring light-matter interactions at the nanoscale to develop functional materials for solar energy conversion, photonics, and catalysis. Current projects in the Sadtler group are within the following three major areas:
Photocatalysis in semiconductor nanocrystals: Semiconductor nanocrystals can harvest energy from sunlight to catalyze fuel-forming chemical reactions, such as water splitting and the partial oxidation of methane gas. We are interested in controlling the morphology and defect structure of semiconductor nanocrystals made by solution-phase synthesis to increase the photocatalytic activity of these materials.
Material growth under external fields: Chemists typically use external parameters such as temperature, pressure, and concentration to direct chemical transformations in molecules and materials. Many classes of materials are also responsive to external stimuli, such as light or electric and magnetic fields. We are designing adaptive inorganic materials that adjust their growth in response to light as a novel route to synthesize complex nanostructures.
Imaging structure and activity at the nanoscale: Along with the ability to control structure– property relationships in nanoscale materials, our group maps the optical response and catalytic activity of these materials. We use super-resolution fluorescence microscopy and redox-active fluorogenic probes to monitor photoinduced, charge-transfer events on individual nanocrystals and correlate these reactivity maps with structural information obtained from electron microscopy.