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Sourav Saha

Dev P. Arya Associate Professor
Materials & Organic Chemistry

Phone: (864) 656-3099
Office: 465 Hunter Laboratories
E-mail: souravs at

Research Interests | Publications | Website

Dr. Saha received his MSc degree from Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur and earned his PhD degree (2005) from University of California, Los Angeles, working under the supervision of Sir Fraser Stoddart on light and electron powered molecular switches. He conducted postdoctoral research in Prof. Andy Hamilton’s laboratory at Yale University where he studied programming DNA and PNA quadruplex structures. Dr. Saha started his independent career at Florida State University in 2009 before joining Clemson University as an Associate Professor in 2016. His research interest lies at the interface of supramolecular and materials chemistry.

Research Interests

Illustration of Dr. Saha's researchThe skyrocketing energy demand and growing urgency to limit anthropogenic strains on our health and environment have created a need for functional materials that can generate energy from clean and renewable sources, capture and detect toxic agents and pollutants, transport charges efficiently in molecular electronic devices, deliver drugs in our bodies, and enable other technological advances. With a long-term goal to meet these demands, we have undertaken a multipronged initiative to develop adaptive materials that can carry out these functions by interacting with various stimuli, such as guest molecules and ions, applied electric field, and light. To this end, we have (1) discovered a novel anion-induced electron transfer phenomenon and defined different modes of electronic interactions between anions and π-acidic receptors that opened the door for discriminating anions on the basis of their electronic properties, (2) constructed dye-sensitized solar cells using self-assembled electron donor–acceptor dyads that convert light into electricity throughout the visible-NIR region, (3) assembled nanoscale vesicles from amphiphilic macrocycles that morph into nanotubes in mild acidic conditions, and (4) constructed new stimuli-responsive metal–organic frameworks (MOFs) that change color and electrical conductivity upon guest encapsulation. The current projects in our lab include:

(1) Reversible Anion and Ion-Pair Recognition under Electronic Control: We are developing novel ion-pair receptors based on π-acidic naphthalenediimide (NDI) units that can not only capture anions and cation simultaneously in a cooperative fashion, but also release them upon electrochemical or photoinduced reduction of the NDI units. We are particularly interested in regulating harmful charge-diffuse anions, such as perchlorate (an explosive), pertechnetate (a nuclear waste), and perrheneate (used in nuclear medicine) ions with these receptors.

(2) Stimuli-Responsive MOFs as Electronic and Photonic Materials: To develop new sensors, semiconductors, light-harvesting, and light-emitting materials, we are constructing stimuli-responsive MOFs using electronically and optically active ligands, integrating them into devices, and investigating how they change their optical and electronic properties in response to guest molecules and ions, applied electric field, and light. The guest-induced color and conductivity changes in MOFs can lead to sensing, while those triggered by electric field and light could expand their utility in electronic devices, batteries, solar cells, and energy efficient lights.

(3) Photocatalytic Water-Splitting for Hydrogen Production: Applying our knowledge and expertise in light to electrical energy conversion with multichromophoric solar cells, we are pursuing photocatalytic water splitting for hydrogen production using self-assembled light-harvesting dyads.

(4) pH-Controlled Drug Delivery Systems: Having developed self-assembled vesicles that morph into nanotubes in acidic media, we are interested in studying their pH-activated delivery capability.



  • Guo, Z.; Panda, D. K.; Gordillo, M. A.; Khatun, A.; Wu, H.; Zhou, W.*; Saha, S.* Lowering Band Gap of an Electroactive Metal-Organic Framework via Complementary Guest Intercalation. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 2017,  9, 32413-32417. (Most read article in September 2017)
  • Guo, Z.; Panda, D. K.; Maity, K.; Lindsey, D.; Parker, T. G.; Albrecht-Schmitt, T. E.; Barreda-Esparza, J. L.; Xiong, P.; Zhou, W.; Saha, S.* Modulating electrical conductivity of metal–organic framework films with intercalated guest π-systems. Journal of Materials Chemistry C 2016, 4, 894–899. (Featured on the Cover of J. Mater. Chem. C)
  • Maity, K.; Panda, D. K.; Lochner, E.; Saha, S.* — Fluoride-Induced Reduction of Ag(I) Cation Leading to Formation of Silver Mirrors and Luminescent Ag-Nanoparticles — Journal of the American Chemical Society 2015, 137, 2812–2815.
  • Mitra, A.; Clark, R. J.; Hubley, C. T.; Saha, S.* — Anion–π and CH···anion interactions in naphthalenediimide-based coordination complexes — Supramolecular Chemistry 2014, 26, 296–301. (Invited article in the ISMSC-8 Special Issue).
  • Panda, D. K.; Goodson, F. S.; Ray, S.; Saha, S.* — Dye-sensitized solar cells based on multichromophoric supramolecular light-harvesting materials — Chemical Communications 2014, 50, 5358–5360.
  • Goodson, F. S.; Panda, D. K.; Ray, S.; Mitra, A.; Guha, S.; Saha, S.* — Tunable electronic interactions between anions and perylene diimide — Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry 2013, 11, 4797–4803.
  • Mitra, A.; Hubley, C. T.; Panda, D. K.; Clark, R. J.; Saha, S.* — Anion-directed assembly of non-interpenetrated square-grid metal–organic framework with nanoscale porosity — Chemical Communications 2013, 49, 6629–6631.
  • Mitra, A.; Panda, D. K.; Corson, L. J.; Saha, S.* — Controllable Self-Assembly of Amphiphilic Macrocycles into Closed-Shell and Open-Shell Vesicles, Nanotubes, and Fibers — Chemical Communications 2013, 49, 4601–4603. (Featured on ChemComm Cover)
  • Guha, S.; Goodson, F. S.; Clark, R. J.; Saha, S.* — “Deciphering Anion–π-Acceptor Interactions and Detecting Fluoride Using a Naphthalenediimide-Based Pd(II) Coordination Polymer” — Crystal Engineering Communications 2012, 14, 1213–1215.
  • Guha, S.; Goodson, F. S.; Corson, L. J.; Saha, S.* — Boundaries of Anion/Naphthalenediimide Interactions: From Anion–π Interactions to Anion-Induced Charge-Transfer and Electron-Transfer Phenomena — Journal of the American Chemical Society 2012, 134, 13679–13691. (Featured on JACS Cover and JACS Spotlight)
  • Panda, D. K.; Goodson, F. S.; Ray, S.; Lowell, R.; Saha, S.* — Multichromophoric dye-sensitized solar cells based on supramolecular zinc-porphyrin···perylene-imide dyads — Chemical Communications 2012, 48, 8775–8777.
  • Guha, S.; Goodson, F. S.; Roy, S.; Corson, L. J.; Gravenmier, C. A.; Saha, S.* — Electronically Regulated Thermally and Light-Gated Electron Transfer from Anions to Naphthalenediimides — Journal of the American Chemical Society 2011, 133, 15256–15259.
  • Guha, S.; Saha, S.* — Fluoride Ion Sensing by an Anion-π Interaction” — Journal of the American Chemical Society 2010, 132, 17674–17677.