REU Site: The Chemistry of Energy Research at Penn State University

Project: Research project

Project Details


This award from the Division of Chemistry (CHE) supports a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) site led by Mary Beth Williams and Zuleika Medina Torres at Pennsylvania State University for three summers, commencing in 2010. The site will support nine students per summer in a ten week program. The research projects focus on chemical research in areas with an impact on energy and sustainability. Sample projects include: (1) the synthesis and study of Ru complexes for photoinduced electron transfer and catalysis; (2) the study of the reactions of simple chemicals and carbon dioxide to prepare unnatural amino acids for use in artificial photosynthesis; (3) the study of nanoscale rectifying junctions for photocatalysis and photoelectrochemistry; (4) the low-temperature chemical synthesis of new kinds of metal oxynitride semiconductors for use as photocatalytic materials ; (5) the study of transport and charge transfer in room temperature ionic liquids; (6) the synthesis of more efficient quantum dot solar cells; (7) the fabrication of polymer nanostructures; and (8) the design and synthesis of polymers for energy applications. In addition to conducting research during the summer, the students participating in this program will participate in a number of professional development activities. Students will be recruited from a large number of institutions across the country, including a number of schools that are minority-serving.

Young scientists need exposure to modern research methods and tools as part of their training. This REU site aims to provide cutting-edge research training in the chemical sciences to a significant number of students who might not otherwise have this opportunity. The research projects are in areas of chemistry that will have an impact in the areas of energy and sustainability. The diverse student cohort participating in research at this site will be well-prepared for graduate school, and eventual employment as part of the country's technical workforce.

Effective start/end date7/15/106/30/14


  • National Science Foundation: $272,820.00


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