Research in ChemS program

Chemical Science Program is driven by two main thrusts: Catalysis and Materials The faculty members belong to three Research Centers at KAUST: Catalysis, Advanced Membranes and Porous Materials, KAUST Solar Center.
   Dr. Basset works to evidence the possible relationships between homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysis. For that purpose, he developed "surface organometallic chemistry", a new field of chemistry. This chemistry resulted in the discovery of a number of new catalytic reactions, such as the metathesis of alkanes which transforms any paraffin into its lower and higher homologues, the cleavage of paraffins by methane, the coupling of methane into ethane and hydrogen, the Ziegler-Natta depolymerization which transforms polyethylene into diesel range gasoline, the transformation of ethylene to propylene, and the removal of traces of arsenic from water. All these chemical transformations belong to the general field of catalysis for new developments in the field of petroleum, energy and environment.
   The research of Professor Hadjichristidis focuses on the synthesis of novel model (narrow molecular weight, structural and compositional dispersity) homopolymers, copolymers and hybrids (polymers/polypeptides, polymers/CNT) with well-defined complex macromolecular architectures (star, comb, cyclic, dendritic ) by using anionic polymerization (AP) high vacuum techniques, as well as combinations of AP with other polymerization methodologies (AP, ATRP, TEMPO, catalytic , etc.). These are ideal materials to check the theory, understand and improve the performance of industrial polymers (e.g. LDPE) and are important candidates for high-tech applications (e.g. nanolithography, drug delivery, high temperature membranes).
   Prof. Cavallo activity is mainly focused on understanding (and possibly solving) chemical problems in catalysis, especially those of industrial relevance. To this end his group uses the armory of tools known as computational chemistry. The areas of interest span from clarifying structure/function relationship in organometallic compounds, to the rationalization of the origin of selectivity in asymmetric catalysis, to unraveling the mechanics of homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysts at work. Attention is also dedicated to clarify structure/function relationship in systems of biological interest. In all cases strong interaction with experimental groups is considered a value. When unsatisfied with the available tools and/or models his group is not shy to develop new ones.

Prof. Kuo-Wei Huang “Mechanism, Kinetics and Catalysis”
   The research interests of Dr. Huang's group center on catalysis, including renewable energy (water splitting), carbon dioxide utilization, carbonylation and decarbonylation, fluorination, kinetic and DFT studies of transition metal and organocatalysis.

Prof. Valentin Rodionov “Catalysis with soft materials”
   Prof. Rodionov’s research interests are broadly focused on nano- and mesoscale catalytic systems, such as micelles or colloidal particles, capable of emergent behavior. His group develops enzyme-like self-assembled catalysts using approaches inspired by the biological evolution.

Prof. Magnus Rueping "Catalysis for new bond construction"
   Prof. Magnus Rueping's research activities are directed toward the development and simplification of synthetic catalytic methodology and technology, and their applictaion in the rapid diverse functional natural and unnatural molecules, not only to address chemical, biological and physical problems but also to generate new molecules with interesting properties.
Prof. Kazuhiro TakanabeCatalysis for energy conversion
   Dr. Kazuhiro Takanabe’s major concern is efficient energy production and conversion by catalytic and photocatalytic processes for sustainable development. His research interests include development of novel nano-materials for a variety of reactions, from conventional methane conversion to future photocatalytic hydrogen production, as well as understanding of reaction mechanism involved in catalytic process using kinetic and isotopic analysis and spectroscopic and electrochemical technique.
Prof. Mohamed EddaoudiDesigned Synthesis: Metal-Organic Materials
   Dr. Eddaoudi’s research is focused in the field of Metal-Organic Materials. He implemented the single-metal-ion-based molecular building b lock (MBB) and the supermolecular building blocks (SBB) approaches as means for the design and synthesis of functional metal-organic materials (MOMs). Dr. Eddaoudi has developed new strategies, based on the MBB approach, for the constructions of functional porous solids. Most notably, Zeolite-like Metal-Organic Frameworks (ZMOFs) with tunable extra-large cavities and periodic array of organic and inorganic moieties. Dr. Eddaoudi has introduced ZMOFs as potential tunable platforms for applications pertaining to energy sustainability and environmental security: Hydrogen storage, Carbon dioxide capture, Toxic Industrials Chemicals filters, Sensing applications, Catalysts immobilization, and Controlled drug delivery.
   Dr. Yu Han’s research interests at KAUST include the synthesis of nanoporous and nanostructured materials, the resolution of their complicated structures and the development of novel applications for these materials in catalysis, separation, and adsorption.
Prof. Niveen M . KhashabControlled release and delivery
   Dr. Khashab's research interests are in design, synthesis, and applications of "smart" programmable nanomaterials with emphasis on the controlled release and delivery aspects of the systems. These engineered materials are utilized for medical/pharmaceutical (drug delivery), industrial (self healing materials) and environmental (membranes synthesis) applications.
Prof. Iain McCulloch “Using Chemical Design to Drive Performance of Organic Electronics" 
   Prof. McCulloch's research interests are in the design and synthesis of semiconducting small molecules and polymers for use in organic electronic devices. This has focused on understanding and control of microstructure and energy levels in conjugated aromatic semiconducting polymers and the subsequent impact on device properties.

Prof. Pierre M. Beaujuge
Macromolecular Science and Engineering for Energy Conversion and Storage
   Dr. Pierre Beaujuge’s research interests are interdisciplinary and span the synthesis, characterization, and practical applications of functional organic materials (e.g. polymers, discotics, etc.) and organic-inorganic hybrids with unique structure-property relationships. Materials developed in his group address specific challenges related to Energy Management and Surface and Interface Engineering. At present, specific effort is invested in the development of new design principles for the synthesis of organic electronics with application in solar power-conversion technologies and energy storage.

Prof. Omar F. Mohammed Abdelsaboor "Tracking Ultrafast Processes in Real Space and Time"
   Research in the Dr. Mohammed group is directed towards fundamental understanding of carrier dynamics in a variety of solar cell systems including semiconductor quantum dots, polymers and perovskite solar cells with the aid of cutting-edge nanotechnology, ultrafast laser spectroscopy, and four-dimensional electron imaging. These characterizations will provide valuable input in the engineering and optimization of these solar cell devices.

Not affiliated for Research Center

Prof. Alexander Rothenberger
Inorganic Chemistry and Materials
   Professor Rothenberger's research interests are in synthetic inorganic chemistry. He investigates the coordination chemistry of novel anions and develops solution-processable inorganic materials for next-generation solar cells. Rothenberger uses exploratory synthesis of crystalline or amorphous porous solids to discover new materials for optical applications, water-purification and gas-separating membranes.