Over the past decade, we have successfully designed a great number of metal-organic frameworks for applications in second-order nonlinear optics, gas storage, asymmetric catalysis, and chiral separations. Our current interests focus on designing new framework materials for applications in energy (such as hydrogen storage and solar fuel production) and catalysis (such as asymmetric catalysis and photocatalysis) areas.
A new class of molecule-based nanomaterials is being developed for a number of biological and biomedical applications. In this emerging area of nanomedicine, we are designing nanoscale multimodal contrast agents for magnetic resonance imaging, optical imaging, and X-ray computed tomography and developing novel nanoparticles for targeted delivery of potent anticancer therapeutics. We have successfully applied some of our hybrid nanomaterials for early diagnosis of cancers and rheumatoid arthritis in animal models.
We are designing novel heterogeneous catalysts for sustainable production of fine chemicals and biofuels. Heterogeneneous catalysts based on a variety of platforms are being developed and used for highly enantioselective catalysts for many important organic transformations. We are also developing new catalytic systems for highly efficient conversion of readily fatty acid feedstocks (such as yellow and brown greases) to biodiesel and other value-added products.
We have also developed synthetic strategies for supramolecular systems ranging from nanoscopic organic macrocycles and cages to mesoscopic molecular hula-hoops that were readily assembled via metal coordination-driven self-assembly processes. Such enzyme-mimicking supramolecular systems are being exploited in molecular recognition, transport, sensing, separation, and catalysis.