2023 Dalton early career Prize: Sir Edward Frankland Prize Winner
Dr Sebastian Pike, University of Warwick
Awarded for studies on the synthesis and photochemistry of metal-oxo cluster molecules and for their use as precursors to functional materials.
Metal oxide materials are used in a multitude of modern applications, from sun creams and paints, to state-of-the-art self-cleaning windows and antibacterial surfaces for next-generation medical devices. Many of these applications stem from the ability of metal oxides to absorb light and use this energy to direct chemical reactions.
Dr Pike’s research investigates molecular versions of metal oxide materials and studies how their properties may be optimised by carefully tuning their size, composition, and surface chemistry. These molecules act as tiny reactive centres that absorb light and can catalyse reactions. Their precise, atomically defined structures, makes them easier to study and understand than larger metal oxide materials that have a more complicated surface. The ability to precisely tune properties (for instance, to absorb the maximum amount of visible light whilst still driving the required chemical transformation), will be essential for the design of next-generation materials that can efficiently use solar energy to produce fuels and useful chemicals.
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