Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

About the PNAS Member Editor
Name Eisenberg, Richard
Location University of Rochester
Primary Field Chemistry
 Election Citation
Eisenberg advanced our understanding of light-and heat-promoted catalytic chemical reactions. Recently, he discovered catalytic systems that utilize light to generate hydrogen from water.
 Research Interests
As a chemist, I focus my research efforts on the chemistry of metal complexes, their structural, electronic and catalytic properties, their photochemistry and photophysics, and their potential use for solar energy conversion and artificial photosynthesis. In the conversion of sunlight into potential energy in the form of solar fuels, the generation of hydrogen from aqueous protons is of paramount importance. While first accomplished 35 years ago, a durable and efficient system for this reaction containing a photosensitizer, a molecular catalyst and a sacrificial electron donor has still eluded development. My laboratory is working on this problem - which represents the reductive side of water splitting - and has developed one of the most active systems to date. However, durability remains a challenge that is being addressed based on mechanistic considerations, catalyst effectiveness and photophysical properties. A different line of research activity involves metal complexes as electrophilic catalysts for ring-forming reactions that can be employed in the synthesis of complex organic molecules. Lastly, the synthesis and photophysical characterization of luminescent metal complexes, particularly of Cu(I) and Au(I), are being studied with a view to the possible use of these complexes as dopant emitters in OLED displays and as luminescent sensors.

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