Research in the Eisenberg laboratory focuses on aspects of inorganic and organometallic chemistry related to photochemistry for artificial photosynthesis (AP) and catalysis related to synthetic methodolgy. All of the research involves collaborative projects with UR colleagues. During the past decade, major advancements have been made in the light driven reduction of protons to hydrogen using organic dyes and semiconductor quantum dots as light absorbers and first transition series metal complexes as molecular catalysts. Proton reduction to H2 is the reductive side of the splitting of water into its constituent elements which is the key energy storing reaction in AP and solar energy conversion into chemical potential energy. Systems of considerable activity and robustness have been developed such as one illustrated below and others highlighted in the papers cited below. The efforts using CdSe quantum dot photosensitizers with metal complexes are in collaboration with Profs. Todd Krauss and Pat Holland (of Yale). For hydrogen generation studies, locally constructed multi-well photochemical instrumentation based on LEDs (see photo) is used.
Other aspects of AP are being examined in collaboration with Prof. David McCamant on the dynamics of electron injection into semiconductor nanoparticles and the effectiveness of integrated systems for hydrogen generation.
The use of metal complexes as catalysts for electrophilicly driven reactions has been an important objective in a joint project with Prof. Alison Frontier. Both cationic iridium complexes and a new heterogeneous Au catalyst have been investigated for Nazarov cyclization and subsequent transformations as potential cascades.