Bottom-up Assembly of Nanomaterials

Atomically precise, noble metal nanoclusters (NCs) smaller than ~2 nm in diameter are an emerging area of nanoscience. NCs are currently of intense fundamental interest for their unique electronic properties, and have considerable practical appeal due to their potential use in nanoparticle-based devices that require precise control of structure at the atomic level. Their novel optical properties, in particular, make them attractive as components for high resolution displays, sensing, and photo-controlled drug delivery. We have been exploring routes to systematically control composition and morphology of well-defined, mono-disperse copper NCs and superatoms. We are particularly interested in studying copper because it an earth abundant first row metal, and copper nanoparticles have been shown to be active towards CO2 reduction and other catalytic transformations. These results will guide the methodology needed for the rational syntheses of nanomaterials using elements from across the periodic table. The use of a variety of spectroscopic techniques, including X-ray diffraction, neutron diffraction, and XAS, in conjunction with kinetic and reactivity studies, yield unique insights into the structure-function relationships present in nanomaterials.



Trevor W. Hayton

Our research involves the synthesis and characterization of new inorganic and organometallic complexes and materials. One goal of this work is to improve our understanding of the structure and bonding in transition metal, lanthanide, and actinide systems, as well as nanoclusters. We are also trying to discover new organic transformations mediated by metal centers.

Phoebe Hertler

Phoebe is working on the bottom-up synthesis of iron nanoclusters.

Osvaldo Ordonez

Osvaldo’s research currently focuses on the bottom-up synthesis of manganese nanoclusters.

Dylan Tietje-McKinney

Dylan's research involves the synthesis and characterization of first-row transition metal complexes, with the hopes of utilizing them as a precursor to metal nanoclusters.

Jordan Brower

Jordan Brower

Jordan is working on the synthesis of heterometallic hydride-containing nanoclusters

Andrew Cook

Andrew is currently working on synthesizing and characterizing transition metal hydride nanoclusters, supported by bidentate phosphine ligands. 

Zhouyang Huang

Zhouyang (Tracky) is working on the synthesis and characterization of copper hydride nanoclusters.

Sasha Inomoto

Sasha is working towards isolating and characterizing novel nickel nanoclusters.


Erin Lewis

Erin is working to optimize the synthesis of a cobalt ketimide cluster under the supervision of her graduate student mentor, Phoebe Hertler.

Bi Nguyen

Bi is working on the synthesis and characterization of copper hydride nanoclusters with Cu(0) character. 

Chris Ravelo

Chris is working on the synthesis and characterization of new transition metal nanoclusters stabilized by multi-dentate ligands. 

Carlos Saucedo

Carlos is working on the synthesis and characterization of new ketimide ligands.

Alex Touchton

Alex is working towards the bottom-up synthesis of group 8 and group 9 metal nanoclusters.