Publication Date

Spring 2017

Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Dr. Matthew Nee (Director), Dr. Hemali Rathnayake, and Dr. Jeremy Maddox

Degree Program

Department of Chemistry

Degree Type

Master of Science


Two novel materials have been developed: TiO2/poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS) beads as buoyant photocatalyst materials for water remediation, and copper rhodamine‑B silane (Cu‑RBS) as an n ‑type organic/inorganic hybrid for thermoelectric applications. The approach to incorporate TiO2 into low‑density PDMS beads addresses many of the challenges traditionally encountered when creating buoyant photocatalysts, an area which is crucial for wide‑spread remediation of water resources, including natural bodies of water. The performance and reusability of the buoyant photocatalyst materials, demonstrated by using methylene blue as a model degradation target, is strong enough for environmental application. The use of a kinetic model and the introduction of a parameter to allow comparison of buoyant photocatalysts is also included as part of the analysis.

The performance of Cu‑RBS was investigated as a low‑temperature thermoelectric material. Clear improvements in the electrical conductivity and Seebeck coefficient are observed for RBS upon coordination to Cu2+. Evidence explaining this improvement is provided by computational analysis and by concentration‑dependent optical absorption and fluorescent emission measurements, all of which indicate that a metal‑to‑ligand charge transfer occurs from Cu2+ to RBS. Although the power factor of Cu‑RBS is low compared to other materials reported in the literature, these results provide a promising approach to increasing both the Seebeck coefficient and electrical conductivity of n‑type small molecule organic systems.


Materials Chemistry | Physical Chemistry

Available for download on Saturday, April 25, 2020