Mary Gates Endowment For Students

EJ Brannan

Mary Gates Research Scholar, Winter 2022

Research Project: Understanding Conductivity and Magnetism in MOFs Through 1D Metal-Organic Chains

Project Description: Metal–organic frameworks (MOFs) are crystalline, porous extended solids which have been a topic of acute interest in the scientific community due to their intrinsic porosity, high surface area, and precise tunability. However, MOFs are typically insulating, which limits their application scope. Recent studies have shown that by choosing the right metal and ligand combination, certain MOF structures can be imbued with electrical conductivity. However, a molecular-level understanding of charge transport in MOFs remains lacking.

My Mary Gates project addresses this knowledge gap through the investigation of highly tunable, conductive model systems called one-dimensional metal-organic chains. I am using these systems to probe how structural parameters, such as metal identity, chain structure, and metal/ligand oxidation state influence the overall electrical and magnetic properties of metal-organic frameworks. 

What have you learned throughout your research project?

Throughout my research project I learned the comprehensive nature of classifying and studying novel materials in chemistry. Working towards a publication of these 1D chains and their properties, I have had the opportunity to synthesize several new materials and study them using a wide range of classification techniques. Research in chemistry can be time consuming and tedious, but it all contributes towards a larger story and helps us understand a little more about the world.

What piece of advice do you have for future applicants?

Regardless of your field, find a topic that excites you and pursue that. There is no faking genuine passion, and if you follow that, opportunities such as the Mary Gates scholarship and much more will surely follow.