Welcome to the home page of the Blakemore Group! We are a research group in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Kansas.

Our aim is to improve the sustainable production of chemicals, fuels, and energy using the tools of contemporary inorganic chemistry, catalysis, and surface chemistry. Design and synthesis of organic and inorganic compounds are major components of this work, along with spectroscopic and electrochemical investigations. Our current projects are focused in several diverse areas:

Coordination chemistry and molecular catalysis. We are working to develop an understanding of the stability, activity, and mechanism of action of several classes of complexes that are molecular catalysts for fuel production from H2O and/or CO2. These compounds include [Cp*]/[Cp*H] complexes that display interesting modes of metal-ligand cooperation, as well as new families of heterobimetallic complexes.

Structure-function studies of chemically modified electrodes. We are studying several classes of metal complexes to understand the role of molecular structure in the stability and activity of immobilized molecular species. Our goal is to improve the stability of coordination complexes on electrode surfaces, so that chemically-modified electrodes can have expanded applications in electrocatalysis and lanthanide/actinide separations science.

New media for carbon dioxide conversion. We are developing new media for carbon dioxide conversion to more useful chemicals. We are specifically targeting improvement of catalytic turnover to industrially relevant rates. This work is done in collaboration with Profs. Kevin Leonard and Bala Subramaniam at the KU Center for Environmentally Beneficial Catalysis.

Photoinduced reactivity. We are designing new metal complexes for studies of controlled, light-induced carbon monoxide release. These studies are aimed at elucidating mechanisms of light-induced speciation and building up a platform of compounds relevant to photodynamic therapy. This work is done in collaboration with the group of Prof. Chris Elles in KU Chemistry.

We are also leading a community outreach effort aimed at improving science literacy among young people and broadening participation in science through mentoring. Our 2016-2017 partner in this effort was Emporia Middle School, and our partner in 2017-2018 is Eudora Middle School. Our group members visit our partner schools and mentor students that are engaged in inquiry-driven projects based on chemistry, energy, and sustainability themes.

In late 2018, the Blakemore Lab will be moving to KU's new Integrated Science Building. A time lapse video shows construction of our new digs.

 

We need the kind of courage that can withstand the subtle corruption of the cynics, so that 
we can show the world that we are not afraid of the future.
It has always been easy to hate and destroy, but to build and to cherish is [the real challenge].
–Elizabeth R.

 

Recent News

3 January 2019 – A new year of research is underway in the Blakemore Laboratory, now in our new digs on the third floor of the Integrated Science Building! Welcome to new first-year graduate students Riddhi Golwankar and Joseph Karnes!

28 December 2018 – Congratulations to Wade Henke (G2) who has been named a recipient of a travel award through the KU CLAS Research Excellence Initiative. These funds will support our collaborative research on manganese photochemistry. Congrats again, Wade!

13 December 2018 – Thanks to Emeritus Professor George Wilson for a tremendous donation of electrochemical instrumentation and laboratory equipment to our group! George has gifted us, among other items, a CH Instruments bipotentiostat and classic Pine Instruments ASR rotating ring-disk electrode (RRDE). Many thanks to Prof. Wilson for his extraordinary generosity, and for enabling new opportunities for us in experimental electrochemistry! 

7 December 2018 – Thanks to the following professors for invitations to deliver seminars this past semester: Irene Zegar and Bill Shirley (Pittsburg State U.), Chris Exstrom (U. Nebraska at Kearney), Bruce Atwater (Fort Hays State U.), Jorge Colón and Dalice Piñero-Cruz (U. Puerto Rico Río Piedras), Jonah Jurss (U. Mississippi), and Alex Parent (North Dakota State U.). Great opportunities to travel and talk chemistry!

Funding Sources

Our work is supported by the US Department of Energy, US National Science Foundation, KU Hall Chemical Research Fund, and the Spring Creek Fund