The Machan Research Group (Department of Chemistry at the University of Virginia) is interested in energy-relevant catalysis, particularly at the interface of molecular electrochemistry and materials. The development of efficient and selective transformations to produce commodity chemical precursors and fuels using CO2, O2, H2, and H2O as reagents remains an ongoing challenge for the storage of electrical energy within chemical bonds. Our research focuses on developing new inorganic complexes and materials which incorporate co-catalytic moieties, non-covalent secondary sphere interactions, and substrate relays as catalysts. These efforts represent an opportunity to address the problems posed by diminishing petrochemical reserves, increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations, and the shift to renewable energy..
Synthesize new ligands for use with first row transition metals and characterize them using NMR spectroscopy, synthesize new metal complexes with these ligands and characterize them using NMR/UV-Vis/IR spectroscopies and X-ray crystallography, characterize the electrocatalytic behavior of these new complexes with respect to CO2, O2, H2, and H2O using cyclic voltammetry.
a basic understanding of the current energy economy, electrochemistry, and inorganic chemistry.