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Chemistry Profile

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Sourav Saha


Associate Professor

Hunter Hall 431 [Office]


Profile/About Me

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 on light and electron-powered molecular switches (i.e., bistable rotaxanes) under the supervision of 2016 chemistry Nobel Laureate, Sir Fraser Stoddart. He conducted postdoctoral research in Prof. Andy Hamilton’s laboratory at Yale University (2007–09) where he studied programming DNA and PNA quadruplex structures. Dr. Saha started his independent academic career at Florida State University in 2009 before moving to Clemson University as an Associate Professor in 2016. His research interest lies at the interface of supramolecular and materials chemistry.

Research Interests

The 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 ?-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 ?-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 charge-diffuse anions, such as perchlorate, pertechnetate, and perrheneate 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.

Research Group (Lab)

Dr. Ashok Yadav (postdoc)
Monica Gordillo (graduate student)
Amina Khatun (graduate student)
Paola Benavides (graduate student)
Shiyu Zhang (graduate student)
Weikang Zheng (graduate student)
Jacob Baker (undergraduate student)

Andrei Palukoshka (MS)
Krishnendu Maity (PhD)
Faysal Ibrahim (BS)

Courses Taught

Organic Chemistry (Undergraduate)
Supramolecular & Materials Chemistry (Graduate and Senior Undergraduate)

Selected Publications

• Yadav. A.; Panda, D. K.; Zhang, S.; Zhou, W.; Saha, S.* Electrically Conductive 3D Metal–Organic Framework Featuring pi-Acidic Hexaazatriphenylene Hexacarbonitrile Ligands with Anion–pi Interaction and Efficient Charge Transport Capabilities. ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2020, 12, 40613–40618.
• Gordillo, M. A.; Benavides, P. A.; Panda, D. K.; Saha, S.* Advent of Electrically Conducting Double-Helical Metal–Organic Frameworks Featuring Butterfly-Shaped Electron Rich pi-Extended Tetrathiafulvalene Ligands. ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2020, 12, 12955–12961.
• Gordillo, M. A.; Saha, S.* Strategies to Improve Electrical and Ionic Conductivities of Metal–Organic Frameworks. Comments on Inorganic Chemistry 2020, 40, 86–106.
• Gordillo, M. A.; Panda, D. K.; Saha, S*. Efficient MOF-Sensitized Solar Cells Featuring Solvothermally Grown [100]-Oriented Pillared Porphyrin Framework-11 Films on ZnO-FTO Surfaces. ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2019, 11, 3196–3206.
• Gordillo, M. A.; Benavides, P. A.; Saha, S.* Anion/Naphthalenediimide Interactions in a Pd(II)-Based Tetrameric Metallocycle. Crystal Growth & Design 2019, 19, 6017–6022.
• Panda, D. K.; Maity, K.; Palukoshka, A.; Ibrahim, F.; Saha, S.* Li+ Ion Conducting Sulfonate-Based Neutral Metal–Organic Framework. ACS Sus. Chem. Eng. 2019, 7, 4619–4624.
• Khatun, A.; Panda, D. K.; Sayresmith, N.; Walter, M. G.; Saha, S.* Thiazolothiazole-Based Luminescent Metal–Organic Frameworks with Ligand-to-Ligand Energy Transfer and Hg2+-Sensing Capabilities. Inorganic Chemistry 2019, 58, 12707–12715.
• Saha, S.* Anion-Induced Electron Transfer. Accounts of Chemical Research 2018, 51, 2225–2236.
• Maity, K.; Panda, D. K.; Gallup, R. J.; Choudhury, C. K.; Saha, S.* Cation-Assisted Reversible Folding and Anion Binding by a Naphthalenediimide-Based Ditopic Ion-Pair Receptor. Organic Letters 2018, 20, 962–965.
• 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.


American Chemical Society

Honors and Awards

• Kavli Fellow of the US National Academy of Sciences and Chinese Academy of Sciences (2016)
• Innovator Award, Florida State University (2015)
• ChemComm Emerging Investigator (2014)
• American Chemical Society Young Academic Investigator in Organic Chemistry (2014)
• ACS-PRF Doctoral New Investigator Award (2011)
• First Year Assistant Professor Award, Florida State University (2010)


Saha Research Group Website
Google Scholar Page