synthetic chemistry for catalysis and materials science

Research in the Campbell Group is centered around reactivity and catalysis, as well as technological applications such as sensing. We target molecules and materials with structural features that can enable interesting reactivity. Current work focuses on two main areas: well-defined silver complexes for redox catalysis, and porous materials for ion sensing.

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Harnessing the Redox Chemistry of Silver

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Although silver is a second-row transition metal, it is often treated as an “honorary” first-row metal due to its relatively low cost and its propensity for single-electron redox chemistry. As a result, homogeneous catalysis with well-defined silver complexes is under-developed. Our work aims to better understand the redox chemistry of silver(I) complexes, in order to develop new reactivity. We are particularly interested in the potential role of silver–silver interactions in redox processes.
This project is currently supported by a grant from the American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund (ACS PRF).

Porous Materials for Ion Sensing

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Selective detection of analytes, such as ions or small organic molecules, is an ongoing challenge in chemistry and materials science. Porous metal–organic frameworks (MOFs) are an ideal platform for the development of "designer" sensing materials, due to a combination of high surface area and modular synthetic design. Our work in this area aims to develop MOF-based sensor devices that can selectively detect ions that are relevant to water quality monitoring. The presence of the ion of interest should produce an easily observed response, such as a change in color or electrical conductivity.