Dr. Louisa J. Hope-Weeks
Title: Professor and Departmental Chair
Education: Ph.D., Cambridge University, UK, 2000; Postdoctoral Study, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, 2001-2002
Research Area: Inorganic Chemistry
Office: Chemistry 125-B
Phone: 806-742-3067 (Main)
Principal Research Interests
- Sol-gel chemistry of transition metal oxides and sulfides
- Porous material for heterogeneous catalysis
- Synthesis of energetic materials
In addition we are also investigating potential applications for non-oxide aerogels which are formed from a series of inter-connected II-VI semiconductor nanocrystals that aggregate to form a low-density inorganic polymer-like material. This work clearly overlaps the previous two previous research focuses outlined above. Specifically we are currently expanding the methodology to improve luminescence efficiency via utilizing the nanoparticles developed within our group to form these materials. Currently we are focusing our efforts to elucidate the morphology at the nanocrystal-nanocrystal interface. By modification of the reaction conditions we are hoping to improve our understanding micro/nano-structure, property and functionality of these novel aerogel materials. Additionally, we have recently undertaken a series of initial studies to look at applications of these materials in sensing and catalysis.
Our final focus area is the development of new organometallic energetic materials, this work is predominantly driven by a need develop alternatives to metal based primary explosives such as lead azide and mercury fulminate. The materials developed are based on a material currently widely utilized by the DoE., 5-cyanotetrazolato-N2-pentamminecobalt (III) perchlorate (CP) which has a cobalt metal center. We have looked to expand this class of material by modifying either the tetrazole ring or changing the metal center, the materials synthesized are often highly colored, and have specific optical absorption bands. This therefore allows the potential for this new class of explosives to be specifically tailored for direct optical initiation.