Our research is on the interface of synthetic inorganic chemistry and physical chemistry. Most of our projects involve the preparation and characterization of inorganic nanostructures (nanospheres, nanosheets, and nanowires) and their application to solar energy conversion. In one line of projects we use nanostructures to fabricate improved photovoltaics devices. This work is done in collaboration with Prof. Adam Moulé in the Chemical Engineering and Materials Science department. In another line of projects we test nanostructures as photocatalysts for the overall water splitting reaction - a method to convert solar energy into hydrogen fuel. Frequently used physical techniques include electron microscopy, irradiation experiments, electrochemistry, photoelectrochemistry, surface photovoltage spectroscopy, and optical spectroscopy. We also make use of X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), atomic force microscopy, and X-ray diffraction (XRD).
Our research is supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, Research Corporation for Science Advancement (Scialog Award), the Petroleum Research Fund administered by the American Chemical Society, and the California Energy Commission.
For visual examples of the research we do in the Osterlab, please follow the link below to some videos filmed by the members of our group. Thank you!
Osterlab Research Videos