What is "Nexus Chemistry"?
Stars in the night sky are simply points in space, until you connect them together to create a constellation. Only then does the figure take shape. Thus a constellation is a product of both the stars in the sky, and how they are connected together. The stars in the sky represent discrete fields of chemistry and materials science and only upon their connection, can we solve problems and create new materials. Nexus Chemistry focuses specifically on building these connections. With this perspective, the different fields of chemistry and materials science are not viewed as discrete fields, but rather as nexus points to connect various other fields together to create a “chemical constellation”. We do this from a fundamental approach, focusing on synthetic methodologies to solve big problems. For example, the design of binders, electrolytes, additives, and membranes in next-generation batteries requires expertise from various fields of chemistry, engineering, and material science. Using a Nexus Chemistry approach, synthetic strategies to create these materials are directed simultaneously by the stringent requirements of the electrochemistry, the ease of large-scale synthesis and processability for engineering design, and their safety/disposal following strict environmental guidelines. How all these concerns relate to each other and the synthetic approach is nexus chemistry.
Our research in this respect focuses on new ionic liquids, cationic polyelectrolytes, and alkaloid utilization for applications in batteries, membranes, and solid-supported chemistry.
Why focus on Nexus Chemistry?
The hallmark of 20th century chemistry is the discovery of new chemical reactions and mechanisms that in turn help us understand the nature of molecules and their interactions. These noble efforts to elucidate the chemical world have led us to our current place in the 21st century, where the horizon has shifted from discovery to application in important fields of materials science. In other words, chemists have discovered so much chemistry that only a small proportion has been found useful. It is our paradigm that the fundamental solutions to create next-generation materials lies in exploiting this vast pool of discovered, yet dormant chemistry and chemical reagents. We then “connect the dots” between this chemistry with material properties, production, and final application.
What does it take to do Nexus Chemistry?
We have a strong focus on synthetic methodologies and techniques, making small molecules, polymers, and functional materials. The nature of this work is interdisciplinary, meaning a combination of synthesis and material science is crucial. If you are interested in applying and discovering new synthetic approaches to solve larger issues, Nexus Chemistry is for you.