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Amanda Morris

  • Chair, Department of Chemistry
  • Faculty Fellow, Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation
Amanda Morris
Research Office: 321 Davidson Hall
Chair Office: 480C Davidson Hall

Research Interests
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. Current efforts include:

  • Investigating the structure-function relationship of novel molecular materials for water oxidation, the oxidation of organic compounds, carbon dioxide reduction, and carbon utilization.
  • Utilizing pulsed laser techniques to investigate the mechanism of light-harvesting by molecular materials, including energy transfer, upconversion, and photocatalysis.
  • Exploring inorganic charge-transfer spin-crossover complexes as catalytic species in long-lived charge-separated states
  • Other projects not related to artificial photosynthesis - chemical warfare agent degradation by molecular materials and composite materials for responsive and energy applications.
  1. Johnson, E.; Ilic, S.; Morris, A.J.* “Design Strategies for Enhanced Conductivity in Metal-Organic Frameworks.” ACS Cent. Sci. 2021, 7, 3, 445–45.
  2. Chakraborty, A.; Illic, S.; Cai, M.; Gibbons, B.J.; Yang, X.; Slamowitz, C.C.; Morris, A.J.* “Role of Spin-Orbit Coupling in Long-Range Energy Transfer in Metal-Organic Frameworks.” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2020, 142, 48, 20434–20443.
  3. Celis-Salazar, P.; Cai, M.; Cucinell, C.; Ahrenholtz, S.; Epley, C.; Usov, P.; Morris, A.J.* “Independent Quantification of Electron and Ion Diffusion in Metallocene-Doped Metal-Organic Frameworks Thin Films.’ J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2019, 141, 11947-11953.
  4. Zhu, J.; Usov, P.; Xu, W.; Celis-Salazar, P.J.; Lin, S.; Kessinger, M.C.; Landaverde-Alvardo, C.; Cai, M.; May, A.M.; Slebodnick, C.; Zhu, D.; Senanyake, S.D.; Morris, A.J.* “A New Class of Metal-Cyclam based Zirconium Metal-Organic Frameworks for CO2 Adsorption and Chemical Fixation.” J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2018, 140, 993-1003.
  5. Lin, S.; Pineda-Galvan, Y.; Maza, W.A.; Epley, C.C.; Zhu, J.; Kessinger, M.C.; Pushkar, Y.; Morris, A.J.* “Electrochemical Water Oxidation by a Catalyst-Modified Metal-Organic Framework Thin Film.” ChemSusChem, 2017, 10, 514-522.
  • Jimmy W. Viers Teaching Award, 2022
  • Patricia Caldwell Faculty Fellow, 2019
  • 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
  • B.S. Pennsylvania State University, 2005
  • Ph.D. Johns Hopkins University, 2009
  • Postdoctoral Associate, Princeton University, 2009–2011