Hongcai (Joe) Zhou
Professor of Chemistry
Robert A. Welch Foundation Chair
Research topics: Energy Storage for Transportation, Supramolecular Chemistry, Hydrogen and Methane Storage, Carbon Dioxide Capture, Clean-Energy-Related Separation, Metal-Organic Frameworks, Mesh-Adjustable Molecular Sieves, Mesoporous Materials, Biomimetic Synthesis.
Nature has demonstrated the extraordinary ability in biological systems to form large and intricate supramolecular arrays from small and simple building blocks, giving rise to a wide variety of structures and functions. Coordination-driven self-assembly has received considerable attention and produced numerous examples of chemically interesting and aesthetically appealing self-assembled structures. For example, nanoscopic molecular cages, can act as molecular hosts for a variety of potential applications, namely molecular recognition, drug delivery, and chemical sensing. They can also be applied as molecular reactors for highly selective reactions (Ex. size- or enantio-selective catalysis and bond activation in a confined space), basic building units for the construction of extended porous materials, and artificial enzymes.
Porous solid materials have captured the imagination of materials scientists and offer great promise in gas storage, separations, and drug delivery applications. In the last decade, the study of Metal-Organic Frameworks (MOFs) has become one of the most rapidly developing fields of materials chemistry. MOFs are crystalline frameworks consisting of metal ions (or clusters) and organic linkers. In some cases, pores inside an open MOF are stable after the removal of guest molecules (often solvents) and the MOF can be used for the storage of gases such as hydrogen (for hydrogen fuel-cell applications), methane (for application in transportation), and carbon dioxide (for carbon capture and sequestration). Other potential applications of MOFs include gas purification and separation for clean-energy related applications, catalysis, drug-delivery, and gas-sensing. Recently, Porous Polymer Networks (PPNs) have also become a research topic in our lab.
Ph.D., 2000, Texas A&M University
Postdoctoral Fellow, 2000-2002, Harvard University