Postdoctoral Fellow in Chemistry
Ph.D. Cornell University (2020)
Areas of Expertise
I am a materials chemist interested in crystal growth from solution. Crystallization from solution is a ubiquitous process that underlies a variety of biological and geological processes and is vital industrially and technologically. I am fascinated by the interplay between solution chemistry and crystallization pathways. For my Ph.D. research, I used in situ techniques to probe the crystal growth mechanisms of hybrid lead halide perovskites, materials that have attracted much attention for for inexpensive, high-performance solar cells. Understanding how these materials grow can provide control over the morphology and properties of the resulting crystals and crystalline thin films. My work focused on establishing relationships between solution speciation and crystallization pathways. For example, we found that the coordinating ability of the solvent determines the crystallization pathway. Using a weakly coordinating solvent leads to a two-step pathway, where a crystalline intermediate forms first and then transforms to the final perovskite phase with heating. In contrast, strongly coordinating solvents can suppress the formation of these crystalline intermediates and promote the formation of the perosvkite directly from solution.
My current research at Williams focuses on the binding of small organic molecules to heavy metals such as cadmium, mercury, and lead. By synthesizing ligands with specific functional groups and studying the coordination chemistry of these metals, this research can help develop polymers for environmental remediation.
Ortoll-Bloch, A. G.; Herbol, H. C.; Sorenson, B. A.; Poloczek, M.; Estroff, L. A.; Clancy, P. “Bypassing Solid-State Intermediates by Solvent Engineering the Crystallization Pathway in Hybrid Organic–Inorganic Perovskites” Cryst. Growth Des., 2020, 20, 1162-1171. Check out the paper here!