Many energy applications place strict requirements on material properties. For example, photocatalysts must have a band gap small enough to absorb solar energy, but large enough to prevent recombination. Further, their surface must contain stable and selective active sites for chemical reactions. Nanomaterials are appealing for applications with strict material requirements because their structure and properties are highly tunable. However, controlling nanomaterials remains a challenge because we lack fundamental understanding of their structure-property relationships. Here, I use metal oxide nanosheets as a model system to show the importance of surface structure and chemistry to material properties. Unlike bulk materials, nanosheets have a large proportion of surface exposed, undercoordinated atoms. In this work, I take advantage of these reactive surface sites to design new nanomaterials and control their properties.
Zachary Fishman graduated with a Ph.D. in Chemical and Environmental Engineering from Yale University in 2018. His work focuses on understanding nanomaterial surface chemistry and structure-property relationships. During his Ph.D., Zack synthesized new metal oxide nanosheets and tuned their optoelectronic properties for renewable energy applications. After graduating, Zack worked as a postdoctoral associate at Yale University and UNC-Chapel Hill investigating the complex intermolecular interactions between nanomaterials and their solution environment. Currently, Zack is a postdoctoral researcher at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) where he uses broadband dielectric spectroscopy to study intermolecular interactions.
Registration link to join the seminar: