Some years ago, my students and I discovered a new class of molecular clusters termed Metallo-Carbohedrenes or Met-Cars for short. They are comprised of eight early transition metal atoms bound to twelve carbons. In view of their potential use as new electronic and optical materials, as well as predicted value as new catalysts, they have attracted wide interest in the chemistry community. Work is underway in our laboratory to investigate their molecular properties, reactivity, and routes for synthesis in the solid state. Excitation experiments using femtosecond lasers are providing new insights into the coupling of electronic and vibrational modes on the ultra short time scale, and are elucidating their photoinduced behavior.
Along the lines of exploring the physical basis for catalysis, my group is also engaged in a number of studies of the reactivities of transition metal compound clusters of widely varying composition and types, with particular attention to oxygen transfer reactions. Investigations are also under way to learn how the small cluster building blocks lead to different morphologies of growing particles that are of interest in wide-ranging areas from photocatalysis to developing new cluster assembled nanoscale materials.