Research and Teaching Interests
In the Gust group, we apply the techniques of synthetic and physical organic chemistry, photochemistry, laser spectroscopy and electrochemistry to mimicry of important aspects of photosynthetic energy conversion. Eventual applications of this work are in the areas of solar energy conversion, molecular (opto)electronics, renewable hydrogen production, and materials chemistry. Most of the research is highly interdisciplinary, and some of our projects involve collaborations with other faculty in Chemistry and Biochemistry, Bioengineering, Physics, Electrical Engineering, and Materials Engineering.
In our laboratories we synthesize organic molecules that absorb sunlight and use the resulting energy to carry out basic processes such as energy transfer, photoinduced electron transfer, and photoisomerization. Our design criteria are based on the principles of natural photosynthesis. The behavior of these molecules is studied using ultrafast laser spectroscopy, NMR, scanning probe microscopy, and other methods. Some of these photoactive compounds are incorporated into artificial biological “cells,” (liposomes) where they are used, along with enzymes and other chemicals, to convert light energy into biologically useful energy such as proton motive force and ATP. Other molecules are the light-absorbing components of experimental photoelectrochemical biofuel cells that generate either electricity or hydrogen gas. Still others have optoelectronic applications. We are preparing molecular photovoltaics, switches and logic gates that will help point the way to new methods of data processing, storage and transmission. The electronic properties of individual molecules are being studied on conducting surfaces using scanning probe techniques, and on insulating surfaces in field-effect transistors. We are also investigating photoactive molecules for their ability to change the properties of surfaces, leading to new methods for controlling water movement in microfluidic devices.
The accompanying list of selected publications can be consulted for more details. Graduate students interested in our research may also be interested in the IGERT graduate education program in Biomolecular Nanotechnology.
"Data and signal processing using photochromic molecules ," Gust, D.; Andréasson, J.; Pischel, U.; Moore, T. A.; Moore, A. L. , Chem. Commun. DOI: 10.1039/C1CC15329C. (2012)
"Realizing artificial photosynthesis ," Gust, D.; Moore, T. A.; Moore, A. L., Faraday Disc. DOI: 10.1039/C1FD00110H (2012)
"All-photonic multifunctional molecular logic device," Andréasson, J.; Pischel, U.; Straight, S. D.; Moore, T. A.; Moore,A. L.; Gust, D., J. Am. Chem. Soc. 133 11641–11648 (2011)
"Photochemical synthesis of a water oxidation catalyst based on cobalt nanostructures," Wee, T.-L.; Sherman, B. D.; Gust, D.; Moore, A. L.; Moore, T. A.; Liu, Y.; Scaiano, J. , J. Am. Chem. Soc. 133 16742-16745 (2011)
"Spin-selective recombination kinetics of a model chemical magnetoreceptor," Timmel, C.; Maeda, K.; Wedge, C.; Storey, J.; Henbest, K.; Liddell, P.; Kodis, G.; Gust, D.; Hore, P., Chem. Commun. 6563-6565 (2011)