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Grow Your Vision

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Research Directions

A rational approach to designing systems for next generation technologies requires a shift from exploratory to hypothesis-driven synthesis. To expand our understanding of metal interactions in both the solid state and molecular compounds, we seek improved control over metal reactivity, structure formation and the resulting properties of new systems.  Researchers in our group will not only learn new synthetic approaches, such as high-pressure synthesis, but also gain expertise in advanced characterization techniques including magnetometry and synchrotron based spectroscopies.

F-elements under pressure:

Lanthanides are ubiquitous in modern technologies from energy conversion devices to optoelectronics. The localized nature of the f-orbitals underpins the useful magnetic and electronic properties these applications rely on but also limits the electronic structural role of the lanthanide element. By using pressure as a synthetic vector to promote f-orbital involvement in bonding, we will access a new regime of electron-rich lanthanide intermetallic materials. Doing so will allow for unprecedented control over electron delocalization, promoting interactions that engender exotic emergent behavior and reveal the resulting chemical principles of transformed f-elements.

Accessing new 2D heavy materials: 

The electronic structure of a material changes upon reduction of dimensionality such that distinct properties emerge when approaching the monolayer limit. The underexplored class of layered materials containing heavy main-group and f-elements elements recommend themselves as a unique platform for studying this phenomenon. Stereochemically-active lone pairs combined with the significant influence of spin-orbit coupling (SOC) on their electronic structures lead to 2D materials ideal for topological electronics. Combining synthetic and computational approach, we aim to develop new routes toward synthesizing low-dimensional intermetallic materials and uncover metrics that determine exfoliability.

Reductive lanthanide chemistry:

The low-valent chemistry of f-element molecular complexes continues to rewrite our understanding of electronic and magnetic structure through their unusual bonding and reactivity. To expand the synthetic space of low-valent lanthanide systems, we target heterobimetallic molecules that incorporate electropositive metalloligands to promote covalent interactions through orbital energy matching. The unique metal-metal interaction supported in these complexes allow electron delocalization that stabilizes electron-rich species and enables further chemical manipulation. Such flexible chemistry redefines the synthetic toolkit for controlling f-element electronic structure and magnetism for quantum applications.

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