A Journey from Ordered Mesostructures to Chalcogels: Porous Semiconducting Metal Chalcogenide Aerogels
Mesoporous materials are important in shape selective separations, catalysis, nano-electronics and in the case of metal sulfides, photonics and nanotechnology. Aerogels are another class of low density porous materials. A wide range of binary and mixed metal oxide analogues have been developed in the past. However, non-oxidic counterparts of those are less studied and could be of great interest as well. The goal of the project is to build high surface area metal chalcogenide frameworks and aerogels to create a general methodology. Surfactant directed assembly of metal chalcogenide building units is shown as a method to construct semiconducting mesostructured materials. In addition, a simple metathesis reaction is applied for the first time to generate a broad class of metal-chalcogenide gels and aerogels. The chalcogenide surfaces of these novel semiconductors possess interesting adsorption properties and show promise towards removing heavy metals from water and separating CO2 over H2. Additionally, these aerogels act as efficient hydrodesulfurization and solar fuel catalysts. In this talk an overview of the semiconducting nanoporous project will be presented.