Date of Award

Fall 2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Jier Huang


The continual reliance on non-renewable energy sources from fossil fuels to meet the world’s energy demand is causing serious environmental problems such as air pollution and global warming, hence there is a need of an alternative clean sustainable energy source. Exploration of clean sustainable renewable energies shows great promise to replace fossil fuels to meet global energy needs. Among the renewable energy sources, solar energy represents one of the most promising alternative energy sources due to its abundance and sustainability. However, the major challenge is the harvesting and storage of solar energy. One of the promising approaches to resolve these challenges is through artificial photosynthesis which enables harnessing of solar energy and store the energy in form of chemical bonds. My research projects focused on the development of photocatalytic materials, i.e., metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) supported single atom catalysts (SACs), which can be utilized as light harvesting and charge separation materials to drive the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) to produce solar fuels. In addition, I explored the application of metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) supported single atom catalysts (SACs) in light induced organic transformation Sonogashira C-C coupling reaction. By using a combination of spectroscopic techniques such as X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS), X-ray transient absorption spectroscopy (XTA), and steady state fluorescence, we studied the influence of single atom catalysts on the charge separation efficiency, catalytic activity, and selectivity of the MOFs supported SACs materials for photocatalytic reactions. The research projects highlighted the importance of tuning the optical properties and charge separation efficiency in photocatalysis, thus providing important insights for rational design of better photocatalytic materials for solar fuel conversion and light induced organic transformation reactions.