Elizabeth Young

Assistant Professor
(610) 758-5753
Seeley G. Mudd, Room 597
Research Interests: 
Proton-coupled electron transfer
Solar energy
Physical chemistry
Teaching Interests: 
Physical chemistry
General chemistry
Thermodynamics and Kinetics

As an experimental physical chemist I am interested in how molecular structure influences the properties of molecules. I study molecules that absorb light and use that energy to carry out interesting and relevant reactions involving charge transfer. Through the use of an ultrafast laser system, we deliver energy to initiate reactions of interest and to track the progress of these reactions. In one area of our research, we design molecular model systems that are inspired by proteins in which both positive and negative charges must move in order to efficiently carry out reactions. Leveraging this concerted motion of protons and electrons, or proton-coupled electron transfer, can allow chemists to perform chemical transformations that are both driven by light and avoid high energy intermediates, which slow down reactions and take more energy to carry out. In another research thrust, we study the photo-physics of molecules and materials used in new types of solar cells. By studying how these molecules behave when they absorb light, interact with other materials, and undergo charge transfer, we aim to develop an understanding of how molecular structure influences molecular properties, and how molecular properties influence the function of solar cells. Researchers can then use this information to inform the design of improved molecules and devices. 

Selected Recent Publications:

Khomein, P.; Swaminathan, S.; Young, E.R.; Thayumanavan, S. “Fluorescence enhancement through incorporation of chromophores in polymeric nanoparticles.” J. Inorg. Organoet Polym. 2017, https://doi.org/10.1007/s10904-017-0670-1.

Hendel, S.J.*; Poe, A.M.; Khomein, P.; Bae, Y.; Thayumanavan, S.; Young, E.R. Photophysical and electrochemical characterization of BODIPY-containing dyads comparing the influence of an A-D-A versus D-A motif on excited-state photophysics.” J. Phys. Chem. A2016120 8794–8803. (https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.jpca.6b06590)

Hendel, S.J.*; Young, E.R. “Introduction to electrochemistry and the use of electrochemistry to synthesize and evaluate catalysis for water oxidation and reduction.” J. Chem. Educ. 2016, 93, 1821-1966. (https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.jchemed.6b00230) ** Cover article of the November 2016 issue.**

Akselrod, G.M.; Young, E.R.; Stone, K.W.; Palatnik, A.; Bulović, V; Tischler, Y.R. “Reduced lasing threshold from organic dye microcavities.” Phys. Rev. B. 2014, 90, 035209. (https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevB.90.035209)

Nti, A.*; Gadzanku, E.*; Young, E.R. “Ferrocenyl-amidinium compound as building block for aqueous proton-coupled electron transfer studies.” Inorg. Chem. Commun. 2014, 43C, 64–66. (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.inoche.2014.02.012)

Akselrod, G.M.; Young, E.R.; Bradley, M.S.; Bulović, V. “Lasing through a strongly-coupled mode by intra-cavity pumping.” Opt. Express 2013, 21, 12122–12128. (https://doi.org/10.1364/OE.21.012122)

Costi, R.; Young, E.R.; Bulović, V.; Nocera, D.G. “Stabilized CdSe-CoPi composite photoanode for light-assisted water oxidation by transformation of a CdSe/cobalt metal thin film.” ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2013, 5, 2364–2367. (https://doi.org/10.1021/am400364u)

Young, E.R.; Rosenthal J.R.; Nocera, D.G. “Energy transfer mediated by asymmetric hydrogen- bonded interfaces.” Chem. Sci. 2012, 3, 455–459. (https://doi.org/10.1039/C1SC00596K)

Young, E.R.; Costi, R.; Paydavosi, S.; Nocera, D.G.; Bulović, V. “Photo-assisted water oxidation with cobalt-based catalyst formed from thin-film cobalt metal on silicon photoanodes.” Energ & Environ. Sci. 2011, 4, 2058–2061. (https://doi.org/10.1039/C1EE01209F)

Akselrod, G.M.; Tischler, J.R.; Young, E.R.; Nocera, D.G.; Bulović, V.; “Exciton-exciton annihilation in organic polariton microcavities.” Phys. Rev. B 2010, 32, 113106-1–113106-4. (https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevB.82.113106)

Young, E.R.; Nocera, D.G.; Bulović, V. “Direct formation of a water oxidation catalyst from thin-film cobalt.” Energ & Environ. Sci. 2010, 3, 17261728. (https://doi.org/10.1039/C0EE00177E)

Young, E.R.; Rosenthal, J.; Hodgkiss, J.M.; Nocera, D.G. “A comparative PCET study of a donor-acceptor pair linked by ionized and non-ionized asymmetric hydrogen-bonded interfaces.” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2009, 131, 76787684. (https://doi.org/10.1021/ja809777j)

Young, E.R.; Rosenthal, J.; Nocera, D.G. “Spectral observation of conversion between ionized vs. non-ionized proton-coupled electron transfer interfaces.” Chem. Comm. 2008, 20, 23222324. (https://doi.org/10.1039/B717747J)

Bachmann, J.; Hodgkiss, J.M.; Young, E.R.; Nocera, D.G. “Ground- and excited-state reactivity of iron porphyrinogens.” Inorg. Chem. 2007, 46, 607609. (https://doi.org/10.1021/ic0616636)

Rosenthal, J.; Young, E.R.; Nocera, D.G. “Structurally homologous β- and meso-alkynyl amidinium porphyrins.” Inorg. Chem. 2007, 46, 86688675. (https://doi.org/10.1021/ic700838s)

Rosenthal, J.; Hodgkiss, J.M.; Young, E.R.; Nocera, D.G. “Spectroscopic determination of proton position in the proton-coupled electron transfer pathways of donor-acceptor supramolecule assemblies.” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2006, 128, 1047410483. (https://doi.org/10.1021/ja062430g)

Dunetz, J.R.; Sandstrom, C.; Young, E.R.; Baker, P.; Van Name, S.A.; Cathopolous, T.; Fairman, R.; De Paula, J.C.; Åkerfeldt, K.S. “Self-Assembling porphyrin-modified peptides.” Org. Lett. 2005, 7, 25592561. (https://doi.org/10.1021/ol050644h)

Schwab, A.D.; Smith, D.E.; Rich, C.S.; Young, E.R.; Smith, W.F.; De Paula, J.C. “Porphyrin nanorods.” J. Phys. Chem. B 2003, 107, 1133911345. (https://doi.org/10.1021/jp035569b)