Faculty News

New Catalyst Found For Clean Energy Fuel

iStock_000082517739_Full-768x514UConn Today

A team of UConn chemists led by professors Steven Suib and James Rusling has developed a new material that could make hydrogen capture more commercially viable and provide a key element for a new generation of cheaper, light-weight hydrogen fuel cells.

The new metal-free catalyst uses carbon graphene nanotubes infused with sulfur.

Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe and a promising source for clean energy. But producing high-grade hydrogen is an expensive and energy-consuming process. Often, the energy spent extracting hydrogen is worth more than the hydrogen gas it produces. Finding a cheaper and more efficient way of capturing hydrogen would go a long way toward the creation of a sustainable hydrogen economy, and would help reduce the world’s reliance on fossil fuels. Continue reading

JACS Full Article: “Fullerene-Assisted Photoinduced Charge Transfer Of Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes Through A Flavin Helix”

websiteThe Journal of the American Chemical Society recently published “Fullerene-Assisted Photoinduced Charge Transfer of Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes through a Flavin Helix,” a full article that describes an innovating 3-way pi-pi arrangement using a nanotube/helix/C60 arrangement.

This article is the result of a research collaboration between the Papadimitrakopoulos Group (Chemistry/IMS), Gascon Group (Chemistry), and Gibson Group (Physics/IMS).
Full Article

Dr. James Rusling Finalist In Transform Tox Testing Challenge

RuslingDr. James Rusling is a finalist in the Transform Tox Testing Challenge. The challenge aims to “find new ways to incorporate physiological levels of chemical metabolism into HTS assays…Adding metabolic competence to HTS assays will help researchers more accurately assess chemical effects and better protect human health.”

The Rusling Group proposes “to use magnetic beads coated with metabolic enzyme sources including microsomes and supersomes containing cyt P450s, bioconjugation enzymes and other human enzyme sources. The enzyme-coated beads react with solutions of test chemicals in 96-well filter plates, and vacuum filtration transfers the metabolite product into a new 96-well plate ready for Tox Test assays.”

Pinkhassik Group Featured on Cover Of Chemistry – A European Journal

8918dc5f-7471-4143-872a-746f1b6fc383Research from the Pinkhassik Group was featured on the cover of Chemistry – A European Journal. Collaborators examined, “Tuning Optical Properties of Encapsulated Clusters of Gold Nanoparticles through Stimuli-Triggered Controlled Aggregation.”

The image illustrates the change in optical properties of nanoparticles caused by externally triggered aggregation inside porous nanocapsules. Small nanoparticles that might be safe for biomedical applications often do not exhibit desirable optical characteristics. Aggregation of nanoparticles may produce suitable optical properties; however, controlling the size of aggregates is particularly difficult. This work addresses the challenge by entrapping groups of nanoparticles in porous polymer nanocapsules. Capsules with semi-permeable shells permit communication with the environment while limiting the size of the aggregates of nanoparticles.

Full Article

Nanoscience Making a Macro-sized Impact


Rouge in officeEarly in her career, Rouge attempted to major in both music and science. “At some point, I realized I had to pick one, and I am happy I chose science as I find it very rewarding.” After earning her B.S. in biochemistry from Boston College and a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Colorado at Boulder, Dr. Rouge continued her postdoctoral studies at Northwestern University in the Chemistry Department. Her research at the University of Colorado was centered on energy related applications of nanomaterials.  “Interestingly, I still used RNA and nanoparticles as I do today, but instead of using them in biological systems, we used them to build inorganic water soluble catalysts from metal precursors.”

Her experience through other highly interdisciplinary laboratories, she says, formed her current areas of research focus that interface both biomolecules and chemistry.  “It’s a highly interdisciplinary area, requiring aspects of chemistry, biochemistry and materials science…My biochemistry interest was influenced most by my experiences with nucleic acids and aptamers during my Ph.D. in Boulder. I’d say my lab’s current focus on therapeutics came out of my more recent experiences working with Dr. Chad Mirkin at Northwestern. There, I worked closely with researchers in the medical school, seeing a route between the chemistry I did at the bench, and delivery of these materials into a mouse model.” Continue reading

Suib Group Featured On Materials Views Cover

materials views cover suibResearch conducted by the Suib Group is now featured as the cover of Material Views’ “Best of Advanced Energy Materials” feature.

The cover highlights Suib Group research regarding “Controlling the Active Sites of Sulfur-Doped Carbon Nanotube–Graphene Nanolobes for Highly Efficient Oxygen Evolution and Reduction Catalysis.” Collaborators include: Abdelhamid M. El-Sawy, Islam M. Mosa, Dong Su, Curtis J. Guild, Syed Khalid, Raymond Joesten, James F. Rusling, and Steven L. Suib.

Cover Summary: “A sequential two-step strategy is developed by Steven L. Suib and co-workers, in article number 1501966, to dope sulfur into carbon nanotube–graphene nanolobes (S,S’-CNT1000°C) to control the active-sites of metal-free catalysts. This strategy enhanced the oxygen evolution reaction better than state-of-art catalysts. This allows the S,S’-CNT1000°C to be a potential-candidate for next-generation metal-free regenerative-fuel cells. Workers in the cover image are doping carbon-nanotubes with sulfur that creates active-sites (raw materials) for the oxygen factory.”


Dr. Jing Zhao Recognized for Outstanding CAREER



Dr. Jing Zhao, Assistant Professor of Chemistry and IMS associated faculty member, is the recipient of the National Science Foundation CAREER Award. This honor recognized Dr. Zhao’s leading example in conducting outstanding research, guiding in education, and the integration of both research and education. Providing funds of $675,000 over the span of five years, the award will support her research project, Synthetically Controlled Plasmon-Multiexciton Interaction in Semiconductor-Metal Hybrid Nanostructures. She is one of four CLAS assistant professors to receive the award this year.

In building her own education, Dr. Zhao attended the University of Science and Technology of China. After earning her Bachelor of Science Degree, she went on to earn her Ph.D. from Northwestern University and completed her Postdoctoral fellowship at MIT. Her research aims to distinguish optical and structural properties of nanoparticles and to recognize the interaction between materials at the single particle level. Continue reading

Aneesa Bey Receives UConn Rising Star Award

aneesaProgram Assistant Aneesa Bey, received the 2016 UConn Rising Star Award! The Rising Star Award is “given to a UConn staff member who has contributed significantly to his/her department and University community with enthusiasm, strong work ethic, superior leadership, and reliability. This person has enhanced the UConn brand through their ideas and actions.”

Aneesa was recognized during a campus-wide UConn Spirit Awards ceremony held on Tuesday, March 8th.