Gary Moore receives prestigious NSF CAREER Award

Gary Moore receives prestigious NSF CAREER Award

December 22, 2016

  • ASU scientist Gary Moore has received a prestigious NSF CAREER Award. 

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December 22, 2016

Biodesign Center for Applied Structural Discovery researcher and School of Molecular Sciences faculty Gary Moore is the recipient of a National Science Foundation CAREER Award.

The CAREER award is the National Science Foundation's most prestigious and competitive honor for early-career investigators. CAREER awards support junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through research, education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations.

The new award will further support Moore's overarching research goals of working on ways of capturing, converting and storing solar energy as fuels.  

“In a bigger picture, an important part of our research is looking to use solar energy to meet global human energy demands,” said Moore. “While there are a number of existing ways of doing that, photovoltaics represent one strategy for converting sunlight to electricity…but just making electricity is not enough.” 

Moore leads a research team interested in using the sun’s energy to generate hydrogen from water and to convert carbon dioxide into useful chemical products.

For large-scale applications, solar energy needs to be converted into a more permanent form so that it can be used, for example, at night, when the sun is not shining. Using solar energy to form fuels ---rather than storing electrons in batteries--- has the advantage of fuels that could have much high energy densities because the electrons can be stored much closer within chemical bonds. This, in large part, is why most modern cars still depend on the efficiency of octane in gasoline, despite the environmental concerns. 

By combining solar energy capture, conversion and storage, a not always available energy source can be turned into chemical fuels that can be used on demand.  

Moore's proposal, titled "SUNCROPS (Solar-Fuels Using Nanoscale Catalysts Reacting on Polymer-modified Surfaces)" describes the development of novel synthetic methodologies to direct and assemble tiny, molecular catalysts to help speed up chemical reactions that are positioned onto (semi)conducting substrates using polymeric interfaces. Addressing this obstacle will improve our fundamental understanding of photoactivated catalysis in complex environments and further enables technological advancements that depend on the precise control and selectivity of nanoscale components.

Moore’s research team includes School of Molecular Sciences (SMS) graduate students Anna M. Beiler, Diana Khusnutdinova, Edgar Reyes and Brian L. Wadsworth, as well as SMS undergraduate students Christian Huber and Sylvia Nanyangwe.