Chemistry Welcomes New Inorganic Materials Faculty member, Dr. Kathryn Knowles
June 9, 2016
Assistant Professor Kathryn Knowles will officially join the Department of Chemistry faculty as of July 1, 2016. Dr. Knowles received a B.S. Chemistry, and a B.A. in Mathematics in 2008 from the University of Rochester. She completed her Ph.D. at Northwestern University with advisor Prof. Emily Weiss on her thesis entitled: “Decay and Dissociation of Excitons in Colloidal Semiconductor Quantum Dots in the Presence of Small Molecules.” Dr. Knowles then went to the University of Washington for postdoctoral research. We are thrilled to have Dr. Knowles return to Rochester and the Department of Chemistry.
The Knowles group is interested in studying the fundamental properties of nanoscale materials in both their ground and photoexcited states. Initial projects will focus on developing colloidal mixed-metal oxide semiconductor nanocrystals and nanostructured thin films that absorb visible and near-infrared light for use in solar energy conversion. Mixed-metal oxide semiconductors are a richly diverse class of materials with optical, electronic, chemical, and magnetic properties that vary widely depending on composition and stoichiometry. By specifically targeting mixed-metal oxide materials with small band gaps, we will take advantage of the superior redox stability of metal oxides relative to chalcogenide semiconductor nanocrystals, while simultaneously avoiding the complication of having to use sensitizers in order to absorb visible light. Ultimately, we wish to use these materials to achieve improved performance in homogeneous and heterogeneous photocatalytic systems.