Inorganic Chemistry encompasses fundamental studies of the properties and reactivities of nearly all of the elements, and the roles of metals in biological systems.

It impacts diverse technologies, ranging from:

  • catalysis and the synthesis of new materials
  • drug design and sensor fabrication
  • synthesis of novel boron and carborane compounds for cancer treatment
  • exploration of new organometallic complexes for synthesis and catalysis

Innovative low-pressure, low-temperature routes for obtaining high-purity ceramic materials are also being developed. New types of monolayers, thin films and polymer membranes are being fabricated and characterized for use in electronics, sensors, and separations.

Research into the functions of metal complexes in biological systems is providing new insights into disease processes and strategies for treatments and cures. From synthesis to fabrication, from the nanoscale to living organisms, inorganic research at UCLA combines breadth and innovation.

Faculty Research Summaries

Professor Paula L. Diaconescu

The Diaconescu groupMedium Theory.diaconescu 0 designs metal complexes supported by ferrocene-based chelating ligands. All projects under investigation harness ferrocene’s unique electronic properties to impart unusual reactivity in the activation of small molecules and to generate biodegradable polymers.

Professor Xiangfeng Duan

Professor Xiangfeng DuanMedium Materials.duan.graphene.left and his group’s interests include nanoscale materials, devices and their applications in future electronics, energy science and biomedical science.

Professor Richard B. Kaner

Professor Richard KanerMedium Materials.kaner.sensor and his group is interested in all aspects of conducting polymers, ranging from the fundamental science of these materials to their development for a wide variety of applications.

Professor Abby Kavner

Professor Kavner’s experimental research program seeks to understand equilibrium and transport properties of materials under extreme conditions of high pressure and high temperature. In addition, the Kavner research group investigates how kinetic isotope effects can help illuminate overall reaction kinetics in processes that combine fluid flow and electrochemistry.

Professor Chong Liu

Professor Chong Liu’s research groupChongLiu.Research.100.v2 is an inorganic chemistry lab with specific interests in electrochemical systems for energy, biology, and environments. Combining his expertise in inorganic chemistry, nanomaterials, and electrochemistry, his research group aims to address some of the challenging questions in catalysis, energy conversion, CO2/N2 fixation, and microbiota. Their research focus includes advanced bioelectrochemical systems of CO2/N2 fixation as well as electrochemical nanodevices enabling the study of biological, medical, environmental applications.

Professor Matthew Nava

The Nava lab is interested in understanding how to efficiently translate molecular structure and reactivity to address challenges at the frontiers of materials, biological and energy conversion chemistries. Two broad thrusts will form the basis of the program: understanding and harnessing metals, particularly those in unusual oxidation states, in materials or biological systems and facilitating reversible chemical conversions to enable new energy storage technologies. In order to achieve these idealized goals, advancements must be made in the art of synthetic inorganic chemistry and accordingly, work in the Nava lab will focus at the interface of chemical synthesis and application.

Professor Hannah Shafaat

The Shafaat Group is focused on metalloenzymes that carry out small molecule activation reactions. We combine protein design with many types of spectroscopy and computational tools to probe catalytic mechanisms, which guides development of efficient and robust bioinorganic systems that can address challenges in alternative energy, sustainability, and human health.

Professor Alexander M. Spokoyny

Research in the Spokoyny.somo.100Spokoyny laboratory is devoted towards establishing new synthetic avenues, structural understanding, and applications for inorganic and organomimetic clusters. These efforts will reveal novel and potentially useful solutions to important problems in the field, including: catalysis, energy storage and selective recognition and labeling of biomolecules.

Professor Jeffrey I. Zink

Professor Jeffrey Zink and his research groupMedium Inorganic.zink.nanovalve work primarily in four different areas: excited state properties of large molecules; laser assisted chemical vapor deposition of nano-particles and structures; functional (optical and electrical) nano-structured materials; and nano-machines.