Nanostructured materials for energy harvesting and storage, and chemical sensing provide challenging opportunities for innovative low-cost nanotechnologies. Functional carbon nanomaterials, for example, fullerenes, nanotubes, graphene decorated with photosensitizers or molecular recognition units, targeted for tailored properties, play important roles in the design and fabrication of devices for efficient energy capture and conversion. The presentation, mainly from our recent studies, cover topics including: (i) design concepts and syntheses of multi-modular donor-acceptor conjugates, (ii) broad-band light capture, and charge stabilization producing high-energy charge separated states in engineered donor-acceptor systems, and (iii) light-to-electricity using the concept of photoelectrochemistry, and light-to-fuel, especially liquid fuel, producing schemes and examples using functional photosensitizer-nanocarbon materials.
Dr. Francis D’Souza is a University Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Materials Science and Engineering. He is part of UNT’s newly established AMMPI research institute. Prior joining UNT in 2011, he was a Professor of Chemistry at Wichita State University, Wichita, KS. He received Ph.D. (1992) from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India and post-doctoral experience from the University of Houston, TX and University of Dijon, France.
Dr. D’Souza’s research is aimed at developing light energy harvesting functional materials. This involves developing molecular recognition directed supramolecular compounds for various chemical/biochemical applications, especially supramolecular porphyrin/phthalocyanine and carbon nanomaterial systems for electron transfer, light energy harvesting and sensor applications. Development of biomemitic supramolecular solar cells is a specialty of his research group. He has published over 425 research papers, 5 book chapters and over 400 conference presentations including several key note and plenary presentations (h-index = 70, total citations > 17,000). His research is supported by NSF, NSF-EPSCoR, NIH, ACS-PRF, and NATO grants. He has won several awards/honors including National Merit Scholarship, University Grants Commission Research Fellow, University Board of Trusties Young Faculty Scholar Award, and Excellence in Research Award, Japan Society of Promotion of Science (JSPS) Professorship, and Fellow of the Electrochemical Society (ECS), Fellow of Royal Society of Chemistry, Distinguished University Research Professor and UNT’s Toulouse Scholar. He is an associate editor of the Electrochemical Society Journals and the Journal of Porphyrins and Phthalocyanines. He is also on the editorial board of few other journals. He has served as Secretary, Vice-Chair and Chair of the Fullerene (FNCN) Division (1999-2008) and Board of Directors of the Electrochemical Society. He is instrumental in establishing Smalley Research Award and Young Investigator Award of FNCN Division of ECS and seeking monies to establish endowments. His enthusiasm of organizing symposia (more than 40 since 1998) at the ECS/ACS meetings demonstrates his sustained commitment of service to professional organizations.