Texas Tech University

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)
               806-834-2442 (Research)

Fax: 806-742-1289

Email: louisa.hope-weeks@ttu.edu

Research Group

Principal Research Interests

  • Sol-gel chemistry of transition metal oxides and sulfides
  • Porous material for heterogeneous catalysis
  • Synthesis of energetic materials
Research efforts in our group are centered on the synthesis of advanced low density porous materials, in particular aerogels, which are often monolithic materials that have exceptionally high surface areas. Our particular interest is in forming highly active metal oxide catalysis, as a direct result of increasing the active metal component on the surface of the support. Our work differs to that of others in that metal loading and thus activity is increased by using a modified epoxide gelation which allows intimate mixing of the metal and support. Additionally, we are focusing our efforts on producing active aerogel based catalysts that are self supporting networks of the metal oxide. This increases the surface area and the number of active catalytic sites; the metal oxides we are currently investigating include many of the first row transition and rare earth metals and their mixed metal oxides.

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.

Representative Publications

“Copper(II) aerogels via 1, 2-epoxide gelation.” C. Sisk and LJ Hope-WeeksJournal of Materials Chemistry 2008, 18, 2607-2610.
“A Sol-Gel Route to Synthesize Monolithic Zinc Oxide Aerogels.” Y. Gao, C. Sisk and LJ Hope-WeeksChemistry of Materials 2007, 19, 24, 6007-6011.
“Monolithic aerogels of silver coated cadmium sulfide colloids.” SK. Gill and LJ Hope-Weeks, Chemical Communications 2009, DOI:10.1039/b903044a.
“Synthesis of Cobalt-containing Cyclophanes, and the Formation of an Unprecedented Seven-membered Cyclic Diyne.”Gologko, V.B.; Hope-Weeks, L.J.; Mays, J.J.; McPartlin, M.; Sloan, A.M.; Woods, A.D. New Journal of Chemistry 2004, 527-534.
"Colloidal germanium nanoparticles, Preparation of.", Taylor, B.R.; Hope-Weeks, L.J. Encyclopedia of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology 2004, 1, 717.
"Time Dependent Size Control of Germanium Nanocrystals.”Hope-Weeks, L.J. Chemical Communications 2003, 2980.
"Solution Preparation of Ge Nanoparticles with Chemically Tailored Surfaces.”Taylor, B.R.; Gox, G.A.; Hope-Weeks, L.J.; Maxwell, R.S. Materials Science & Engineering B 2002, 2, 90.
"Synthesis of Thio and Mixed Donor Macrocyles.”, Hope-Weeks, L.J.; Mays, M.J.; Woods, A.D. Dalton Trans 2002, 1812.
"X-ray Absorption Study of Colloidal Ge Quantum Dots." van Buren, T.; Bostedt, C.; Taylor, B.R..; Willey, T.M.; Hope-Weeks, L. J.; Weeks, B.L..; Terminello, L.J. Proc. SPIE Int. Soc. Opt. Eng. 2002, 1, 4807.


Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry