American University of Beirut

Functional materials designed to serve the dual purpose of addressing two of the world's most pressing problems: energy and environmental issues

​​​​​​​​​​​​​Dr. ​​​​Mohamad Hmadeh​
Associate Professor​​​
Department​ of Chemistry
T: 01-350000 x3988​

Our research has combined the tools of inorganic and analytical chemistries to prepare new materials to target environmental and energy related problems relevant to sensing, water purification, antimicrobial agents, catalysis and solar fuel production. The hard work and dedication of our research group coupled with innovative ideas and strategic research plan have resulted in a research program aiming at developing materials for energy and environmental applications through three approaches (Figure 1). The first approach is based on developing new metal organic frameworks (MOFs), namely AUBM (American University of Beirut Materials). MOFs are novel crystalline porous structures built by linking metal cluster and organic bridging units through strong chemical bonds. Here, we have focused on designing new MOF structures through the incorporation of new type of linkers and metal nodes into extended networks for specific applications in sensing, adsorption and catalysis. The second approach focuses on tailoring of the physical and chemical properties of existing and known MOF structures to target specific applications in catalysis, adsorption and antimicrobial activities. Here, we apply the reaction diffusion process to produce MOF and ZIF crystals in a controlled manner. We show how this process can be used to control the size, morphology, composition and defects in MOFs and ZIFs. In addition to this new process, we use modulated synthesis to create defects in UiO-66 based MOF structures, which is a novel type of material engineering that we applied for catalysis (e.g. esterification reactions) and adsorption (e.g. Arsenic removal from water) applications. The third approach is through the design and synthesis of multi-component and multifunctional nanoparticles (iron oxihydroxides, niobium oxihydroxides, MOFs/nanoparticles) for various photocatalytic applications including hydrogen production, carbon dioxide reduction and pollutants degradation. Our multi-displinary research activities have trained students on a large set of skills covering areas in reticular chemistry and nanochemistry. This includes techniques such as SEM-EDX, PXRD, TGA, AA, GC, HPLC, IC, UV-Vis spectroscopy and fluorescence that are available at the Kamal A. Shair Central Research Science Laboratory (KAS CRSL). Our research program resulted in strong collaborations with faculty members both within the chemistry department and with other departments at AUB, and also around the world.

Figure 1. Schematic illustration of our research work highlighting the three approaches to develop materials for energy and environmental applications.

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