NSF Supports Pickett’s, Novick’s Spectroscopy Research

Stewart Novick, professor of chemistry, and Herb Pickett, a visiting scholar in chemistry, received a $323,880 grant from the National Science Foundation for their research titled “High resolution spectroscopy of molecular hydrogen complexed with Transition metal halides and chalcogens: a model for H2 MOF hydrogen storage.” The grant will be awarded Sept. 1 through Aug. 31, 2013. The grant is subcontract with the project’s co-PI Zhenghong Yu at Aerodyne Research Inc.

Using the extremely sensitive Fourier transform microwave spectrometer in Novick’s laboratory and incorporating “laser ablation” as a source of refractory molecules, Novick and Pickett plan to study the “active site” of the metal organic frameworks (MOF) binding site to molecular hydrogen. These MOFs can be used to safely transport hydrogen, for example in hydrogen fuel-cell driven automobiles.

“Perhaps we will ultimately learn how to design a better MOF for hydrogen transport,” Novick says.

Novick and Pickett will explore the chemical nature of bonding between H2 and its various binding partners such as ZnO, CuO, CuF, and other transition metal halides and chalcogens (oxygen and sulfur), which we will denote by MX.

“The investigation of the structure and dynamics of these medium strength complexes will enable us to elucidate the influence of the electronic structure of the transition metal halides and chalcogens upon the bond strength of these molecules with molecular hydrogen,” Novick explains. “We will also obtain detailed information on the anisotropy of the bonding of the MX with H2. The complexes will be produced by a laser ablation source immediately following supersonic expansion of a dilute mixture of hydrogen and an inert gas.”

These experimental and theoretical investigations will reveal important structural, energetic and dynamical information which should provide detailed insights into what further modification of MOFs will be required for hydrogen storage at room temperature.