Self-Assembly of a Supramolecule on a Platinum Surface. Brian Hashiguchi& Ricky Amii
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Our research is directed toward the solar-energy conversion of water to molecular hydrogen. A cheap method of producing H2 would not only provide an abundant energy source, but would also alleviate many of the environmental problems associated with current energy sources, as H2 burns in air to form H2O. We have adapted a "supramolecular" approach, in which a multifunctional molecule (a "supramolecule") harnesses and stores solar energy, then drives a series of electron transfers that ultimately produces H2. This supramolecule is comprised of three main components: (1) a photoactive ruthenium complex that captures the solar energy; (2) an alternating benzene-acetylene molecular wire that can transport electrons and; (3) a catalytic surface that uses the photogenerated electrons to reduce H<sup>+</sup> to H2. My focus this summer was to work on the alternating benzene-acetylene molecular wire. In doing so, I learned high-vacuum procedures along with air-sensitive chemistry. It was a really rewarding experience and hope to do so again next summer.