We’re proud to announce that Samuel Wolff has been named one of our Fall 2020 Undergraduates of the Quarter.
Samuel grew up all around the Portland Metro area, but graduated from Lake Oswego High School, home of the Lakers. He chose chemistry purely out of interest. After a brief stint in Chemical Engineering, he realized they didn’t focus enough on the fundamentals, so he switched to Chemistry. He chose Oregon State because he didn’t want to leave Oregon and was pleased by the opportunities available here.
Shortly after switching to chemistry, Samuel joined Dr. Kyriakos Stylianou’s lab. Dr. Stylianou works with metal-organic frameworks (MOFs). Samuel’s little niche in the lab is photocatalysis. Improving MOFs for photocatalysis is essentially the goal. The big thing about sustainable energy is that hydrogen gas is of course a promising source of sustainable energy. And if you want to improve the way MOFs produce hydrogen sustainably, you have to engineer them in such a way that they absorb solar radiation (instead of using ultraviolet lights or stuff like that). A big parameter they focus on is red-shifting the absorption spectrum, to test improvement.
The chromophores are within the ligands, so they typically use an amino functional group or a hydroxyl. But yes, you can incorporate photo-synthesizers into the MOF. The most common general characterization techniques for these materials are powder X-ray diffraction (PXRD), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), IR spectroscopy and surface area analysis. But to understand optical and electronic properties we typically employ UV-Vis spectroscopy, photoluminescence spectroscopy, cyclic voltammetry and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy.
Samuel graduated in June, and his plan was to take a gap year before applying to graduate schools for admission fall term 2023. He wants to focus on materials chemistry with an emphasis in energy, energy storage and/or hydrogen gas.
Outside school, Samuel likes to rock climb, hike, camp, and participate in other outdoor activities. He also enjoys reading when he has time. His favorite food is Sushi, and his favorite book is the Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.
We’re very proud of our Undergraduates of the Quarter, and wish Samuel all the best with his future.