Solution chemistry

Understanding the fundamental chemistry of inorganic solutions

The fundamental chemistry of inorganic nanoscale clusters in solid and solution states drives CSMC film and patterning processes. Understanding these basic and essential properties allows for the design of syntheses and control of new precursors for the production of functional materials. This knowledge aids studies of condensation pathways by which films form.


PROJECT: Solution speciation and properties of nanoscale clusters and particles. In this project, we study Group 13 tridecameric clusters and hexol structural analogs.

Analytical goals include the following:

  • elucidate the fundamental chemistry behind anion-cluster interactions in solution and how those interactions relate to speciation;
  • discover new substitutional metal cluster analogs based on the hexol system;
  • develop computational methods for predicting speciation;
  • build a database of spectroscopic metrics aiding species identification in solution;
  • expand the current scientific library of metal small discrete clusters.

Results from these analyses are partnered with computational studies to better understand metal-oxo precursor speciation and behavior in solution.


PROJECT: The chemistry of group V polyoxometalates as precursors for thin-film materials. In this study, new polyoxotantalates, polyoxoniobates, and peroxophosphatoniobium clusters are synthesized. Simple condensation of the clusters is studied in solution, and full transformation from cluster to oxide is examined in thin films.

The goals of this project are to further explore the chemistry of Group V elements by:

  • elucidating the speciation of peroxophosphatoniobium clusters in its uniquely acidic solution;
  • targeting new mixed-metal clusters for synthesis;
  • characterizing the transition from cluster to gel through the investigation of behavior in solution.
  • investigating the effects of counterions on speciation over broad pH ranges.