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Time-resolved X-ray Spectroscopy in Biological and Chemical Catalysis Group

Our research group is focused on the development and application of advanced spectroscopic tools for the design of active catalysts for water oxidation, proton reduction, and methane to methanol production processes. Currently the development of artificial photosynthetic assemblies and biological mimics of naturally methane oxidizing enzymes is of great interest, and has drawn significant attention by exploring molecular catalysts based on 3d transition metal complexes. However in spite of emerging design principles, there is an urgent need to correlate the performance and stability of a catalyst to its geometric structure and electronic configuration for its rational development.

In this regard, we are interested in the development of static and time-resolved X-ray based spectroscopic approaches, including X-ray absorption (XAS) and X-ray emission spectroscopy (XES), to understand the critical electronic, energetic and geometric requirements of the water splitting and methane oxidation reactions necessary for achieving economically feasible catalysts. Our research is particularly oriented towards ultrafast pump (laser), X-ray (probe) studies of metal noble-free photosensitizers, and multimolecular photocatalytic systems for artificial photosynthesis in the femtosecond-microsecond time regime. Combined analysis of experimental data on structures, electronic configurations and spin states provide valuable information to understand the operation mechanism. Further selectivity is achieved through resonant XES or resonant inelastic X-ray scattering spectroscopy.

Synchrotron-based techniques employed in our group are complemented with laboratory-based spectroscopic methods such as UV-Visible spectroscopy, Resonance Raman, Electron Paramagnetic Resonance, Optical transient absorption spectroscopy, and Atomic Force Microscopy. Our studies involve the interplay of several disciplines including synthetic inorganic chemistry, electrochemistry, kinetics, and spectroscopy.