Research activities in the Moore research lab lie in the areas of synthetic inorganic chemistry, materials chemistry, materials science, and nanomaterials. The research efforts in Dr. Moore's lab center on the synthesis of novel inorganic materials at both the macro-/meso- and nano-scales. A fundamental theme present in this research effort is the use of chemically "soft" methods (i.e. solution based, room temperature or low temperature routes) for material preparation. Several specific areas are of current interest:
1. Ceramic Nanocomposite Materials
Sol-gel chemistry is a facile, solution-based method for the preparation of metal oxide materials, and composite materials thereof. Research in this are focuses on the covalent incorporation of nanocrystal precursors into a ceramic, sol-gel matrix. Thermal treatment of these intermediate precursor/ceramic composites yields nanocomposites consisting of nanocrystals of a desired materialwidely dispersed throughout a ceramic host matrix.
2. Optical Materials (Rare-Earth Molybdates)
Materials having the basic formulaRE2(MoO4)3, where RE = a rare-earth (lanthanide) ion, have various interesting optical properties. These materials are luminescent and may also possess non-linear (second and third order) optical properties. Enhancement of the optical properties of these materials may be achieved by restricting the RE2(MoO4)3 materials to the nano-size regime. Preparation of these nanomaterials involves using water-in-oil microemulsions as aqueous "nano-reactors" to facilitate the production of RE2(MoO4)3.
3. Metal Sulfides
Metal sulfides are a technologically important class of materials with applications ranging from light harvesting components in solar cells to catalysis to solid-state lubrication. Research in this area will probe new methods for the room temperature or low temperature preparation of various metal sulfides, including pH dependant decomposition of molecular precursors and "thio" sol-gel reactions.