Grad Seminar: Kate Waldie - Photoswitchable Metal Organic Frameworks (MOFs)

December 10, 2019

12:10 - 1:00 PM
CCR-201 (McLaren Center for Ceramic Research)

Photoswitchable Metal Organic Frameworks (MOFs)

Kate Waldie

Rutgers, Chemistry & Chemical Biology


Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) are crystalline, porous materials in which a highly-ordered network is created from metal ions or clusters connected by rigid organic molecules. A large variety of MOF structures have been reported containing various metals and organic linkers, which has enabled the modular tuning of MOF pore size, structure, and properties by judicious selection of the components. The rational design of MOFs has attracted significant attention in recent years for gas storage, chemical separations, catalysis, and electronic applications. The wide range of organic ligand architectures that can be used to construct MOFs provides the opportunity to incorporate stimuli-responsive units into the linker while still maintaining the integrity of the MOF network. Such next generation MOFs undergo changes in their structure and properties upon exposure to external stimuli, with the nature of the stimulus (e.g. chemical, optical, thermal) and resulting change in the MOF properties being governed by the type of responsive unit. Light remains an ideal stimulus in many applications due to its high spatial and temporal resolution, and in particular, optical control over the electrical conductivity of MOFs is especially interesting for optoelectronic switches, memory devices, and controllable catalysis. Such control may be achieved by introducing photochromic molecules into the MOF linkers. This talk will present an overview of metal-organic frameworks and highlight recent advances in the field of light-responsive MOFs containing photochromic organic units. A set of design principles and initial results towards the development of new photochromic linkers for incorporation into electrically-conductive MOFs will also be discussed.


Kate hails from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, where she obtained a B.Sc. degree in chemistry from the University of Victoria. Her undergraduate research on redox active ligands in the group of Professor Robin Hicks sparked her initial interest in electrochemistry. Kate then ventured south to California to attend graduate school at Stanford University under the guidance of Professor Robert Waymouth. For her Ph.D. thesis, she investigated transition metal-hydride complexes for transfer hydrogenation and electrocatalysis. After completing her Ph.D. degree in 2016, she moved further south to join the group of Professor Clifford Kubiak as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California San Diego. In the Kubiak Lab, she studied electrochemical reduction of carbon dioxide to liquid fuels using organic mediators and organometallic catalysts. Kate began her independent research career in Fall 2018 as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Rutgers University.

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