Interest in the Stacy Lab is in solid-state inorganic chemistry, with particular emphasis on the synthesis and characterization of new solid state materials with novel electronic and magnetic properties. We are able to make new materials, or grow crystals of materials that have previously only been made at high temperatures, by choosing unusual reaction conditions. Our goal is to exploit changes in chemical composition or size in order to tailor structural parameters and physical properties.
A main theme in the Stacy Lab is the development of new synthetic methodologies, including the use of molten salts for the synthesis of oxide superconductors, electrodeposition (in aqueous solutions and molten salts) for the synthesis of thermoelectric materials, and the use of plasma-solid reactions for the synthesis of fluorides with interesting catalytic properties. We are also using our plasma chamber for the development of chemistries for emission reduction of perfluorocarbon compounds produced by plasma processing of semiconductor devices. A current interest in our lab is exploring two-dimensional and one-dimensional quantum confined thermoelectric materials. These materials are made by electrodeposition through a porous membrane to produce wires and by pulsed laser deposition to produce multilayered thin films. In each of these cases we are learning about an unusual or new synthetic approach in order to target a material in which we are interested.
It is important to us that we understand the behavior of our materials, as well as the conditions of our syntheses so we can more carefully control which products we get. For the oxides, we have been exploring the use of Raman spectroscopy to characterize the chemistry of the molten alkali metal hydroxides that we use as a solvent system. A new project in our lab has focused on the transport properties of mixed metal chalcoplyrites (such as CuInSe2). We are systematically doping with Zn to see which affects the transport properties more, the dopant or the defects. We are using diffraction and electron microscopy to characterize this system.
As chemists interested in solids, an important contribution is to discover advanced materials that can be applied to emerging technologies. In addition, we have the fun of deciphering new and unusual behavior of materials.