The Mason Group applies the tools of synthetic chemistry and nanotechnology to the design of materials that address basic science challenges in energy and sustainable development. We are particularly interested in the development of chemical strategies to manipulate entropic effects, phase transitions, and porosity at different length scales in inorganic and organic materials.
Advanced materials that can store high capacities of thermal energy and deliver it on demand are critical to the more efficient and sustainable utilization of energy. Through the development of strategies to manipulate the thermodynamics and kinetics of order-disorder transitions, our laboratory synthesizes new phase-change materials for thermal energy storage and heat management.
Owing to their myriad size- and shape-dependent magnetic, electronic, catalytic, optical, and mechanical properties, colloidal nanocrystals are exceptionally powerful building blocks for the construction of tunable materials. Our laboratory investigates porous materials composed of inorganic nanocrystals bridged by rigid organic ligands. These materials will exhibit novel properties that are derived from individual nanocrystals and their collective interactions, along with functionalized organic ligands and guest species in well-defined pores.
Porous nanocrystals with well-defined shapes, sizes, and surface chemistries offer opportunities for realizing properties that are not conventionally associated with porous materials and for addressing long-standing challenges in adsorption. Our laboratory is interested in the development of nanocrystal-based self-cooling and self-heating adsorbents, membranes for water purification, and liquids with intrinsic porosity.