Associate Professor & Associate Chair
Inorganic and Energy Chemistry
The finite supply of fossil fuels and the possible environmental impact of such energy sources has garnered the scientific community's attention for the development of alternative, overall carbon-neutral fuel sources. The sun provides enough energy every hour to power the earth for a year. However, two of the remaining challenges that limit the utilization of solar energy are the development of cheap and efficient solar harvesting materials and advances in energy storage technology. Natural photosynthetic systems utilize the sun's energy to transform carbon dioxide and water into carbohydrates, nature's stored solar fuel. Artificial photosynthetic systems that can oxidize wear and reduce carbon dioxide efficiently to a solar fuel could represent the breakthrough solar power needs to become a viable energy source.
In my lab, the projects focus on two aspects of solar energy conversion: direct catalysis at photoactive electrodes and the development of solar cells from inexpensive materials. Current efforts include
- Investigating the structure-function relationship of novel molecular materials for water-splitting and carbon dioxide reduction,
- Utilizing pulsed laser techniques to investigate the mechanism of molecular carbon dioxide reduction catalysis, and
- Exploring inorganic charge-transfer spin crossover complexes for use in low-cost, highly efficient quantum dot dye-sensitized solar cells.
- Maza, W.A.; Haring, A.J.; Ahrenholtz, S.R.; Epley, C.C.; Lin, S.Y.; Morris, A.J. "Ruthenium(II)-Polypyridyl Metal Organic Frameworks as a New Class of Sensitized Solar Cells." Chem. Sci. 2016, 7, 719-727.
- Maza, W.A.; Padilla, R.; Morris, A.J. "Concentration Dependent Dimensionality of Resonance Energy Transfer in a Post-Synthetically Doped Morphologically Homologous Analogue of UIO-67 MOF with a Ruthenium (II) Polypyridyl Complex." J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2015, 137 (25), 8161-8168.
- Ahrenholtz, S.R.; Epley, C.C.; Morris, A.J. "Solvothermal Preparation of an Electrocatalytic Metalloporphyrin MOF Thin Film and its Redox Hopping Charge Transfer Mechanism" J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2014, 136 (6), 2464-2472.
- Virginia Tech Principles of Community Award, 2018
- Inter-American Photochemical Society Young Investigator Award, 2016
- John C. Schug Research Award, 2016
- NSF CAREER Award, 2016
- Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar, 2016
- Sloan Research Fellow, 2016
- Alfred F. Clifford Faculty Service Award, 2014
- College of Science Diversity Award, 2012–2013
- Ralf E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award, 2012
- B.S. Pennsylvania State University, 2005
- Ph.D. Johns Hopkins University, 2009
- Postdoctoral Associate, Princeton University, 2009–2011