Dr. Schmedake, Dr. Walter, and Dr. Zhang awarded NSF Chemistry Division Grant

Monday, June 18, 2018

The Chemical Synthesis Program of the NSF Chemistry Division has awarded a grant (#1800331) to an interdisciplinary research team led by Professors Thomas A. Schmedake (Chemistry), Michael Walter (Chemistry), and Yong Zhang (Electrical and Computer Engineering) at UNC Charlotte to develop hexacoordinate silicon complexes for optoelectronic device applications like the development of photovoltaics for harvesting light energy or fiber optic communications. The goal of the project is to overcome some of the current limitations of organic electronic devices by developing new silicon-based molecular materials with electronic and optical properties superior to those of current materials. To accomplish this goal, the team at UNC Charlotte is developing new methodology for synthesizing chemically stable and robust silicon complexes with optimized electronic and optical molecular properties. Once made, the complexes are incorporated into prototype devices to measure their effect on device performance. This interplay between the synthesis of the complexes and device fabrication serves to elucidate the molecular-level synthetic design principles needed for macroscale device optimization. The interdisciplinary project spans the fields of chemistry, materials science, and electrical engineering and provides exceptional training for students at various stages in their careers ranging from high school through graduate school. In addition, the collaborators work with a local science museum, teachers, and schools to develop and provide outreach programs in chemistry and STEM.