MacDonnell's Research Group

Prof. Frederick MacDonnell




· The MacDonnell lab is interested in developing new molecular catalysts and materials with interesting optical, photochemical, electrochemical, stereochemical and bioactive properties. In particular, we have been heavily involved in the synthesis and and characterization of new ruthenium-polypyridyl complexes containing unusual redox and photoactive ligands. The complexes exhibit a wide range of behaviors that makes them potential useful in areas as diverse as solar-energy harvesting, chiral separations and photocatalysis. In order to study these complexes we rely on a broad range of spectroscopic and spectrometric techniques including: electrochemistry, spectroelectrochemistry, photochemistry, crystallography, electron paramagnetic resonance, NMR and magnetic susceptibility.


· Energy has been listed as humanity’s number one problem for the next 50 years by several agencies.  The fact that it surpasses other issues such as water, food, environment, poverty, terrorism, war, disease, education, democracy, and population, underscores the criticality of energy in almost everything that a society does.  The U. S. Department of Energy projects that the world’s total energy consumption will rise by 54% between 2001 and 2025. To meet our future energy needs, we must develop alternative energy sources because (a) the fossil fuel reserve will not be sufficient to meet the demand beyond 2050; and (b) an over-reliance on fossil fuels has both environmental and political implications as highlighted in recent  events.  Recognizing the importance of this critical problem, MacDonnell lab is active on various aspects of energy research and development, Examples of  activities in energy research and development currently under the CREST umbrella include:

         A)  Methods for hydrogen generation using renewable energy sources

         B)  Biomass and solar thermal energy conversion

         C)  Novel analytical methods for characterization of energy materials and devices

         D)  Materials for energy conversion and storage


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