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Emeritus Faculty - Dr. Carl C. Wamser
Emeritus Faculty - Dr. Carl C. Wamser

Professor of Chemistry

Ph.D. Chemistry | California Institute of Technology, 1970

Postdoctoral Fellow | Harvard University, 1970


Personally Maintained Website

Research Interests

Research in the Wamser laboratory is focused on solar energy conversion, using a general approach sometimes called artificial photosynthesis. The long-term goal is development of novel organic materials able to efficiently collect solar energy and convert it to a useful form of energy. The output might be electricity, as in a photovoltaic cell or a photochemical process such as decomposition of water into hydrogen and oxygen or conversion of CO2 to a fuel like methanol. Many of the design strategies are roughly based on natural membrane systems as used in photosynthesis. For example, the light-absorbing molecules most commonly used in our research are porphyrins, structural analogs of chlorophyll. Porphyrins are specifically organized in various ways to enhance their ability to collect solar energy, transfer their excitation energy to a reactive site, and initiate electron transfer reactions.

The primary focus of research in the group is currently the development of nanostructured conductive polymers, such as polyaniline or polymers of porphyrins. These materials provide strong light absorption, electronic conductivity, and a very high surface area - all properties favorable for constructing an organic solar cell. We are currently seeking methods for incorporating a complementary semiconductor, such as TiO2, into the pore spaces of the conductive polymer to create a novel heterojunction solar cell.

Newer areas of research include photocatalytic reactions involving pyridine, potentially including the photoreduction of CO2 to methanol. Individual research projects in the group can involve a great variety of possible areas, including synthesis, spectroscopy, computer modeling, electrochemistry, photochemistry, polymer chemistry, materials science, and combinations of any or all of the above. Additional new techniques and collaborations with colleagues at PSU and at other institutions are always being sought to further characterize the novel properties of the materials being developed.

Representative Publications

  • Synthesis and Characterization of Interfacially Polymerized Films of Tetraphenylporphyrin Derivatives, W. Li and C. C. Wamser, Langmuir, 1995, 11, 4061-4071.
  • Adsorption and Photoactivity of Tetra(4-carboxyphenyl)porphyrin (TCPP) on Nanoparticulate TiO2, S. Cherian and C. C. Wamser, J. Phys. Chem. B, 2000, 104(15), 3624-3629.
  • Substituent and Solvent Effects on the Hyperporphyrin Spectra of Diprotonated Tetraphenylporphyrins, J. Weinkauf, A. Schweiger, S. Cooper, and C. C. Wamser, J. Phys. Chem. A, 2003, 107(18), 3486-3496.
  • Photoelectropolymerization of Aniline in a Dye-Sensitized Solar Cell, H.-S. Kim and C. C. Wamser, Photochem. Photobiol. Sci., 2006, 5(10), 955-960.
  • Syntheses and Optoelectronic Properties of Amino/carboxyphenylporphyrins for Potential use in Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells, M. G. Walter, C. C. Wamser, J. Ruwitch, Y. Zhao, D. Braden, M. Stevens, A. Denman, R. Pi, A. Rudine, and P. J. Pessiki, J. Porph. Phthalo., 2007, 11(8), 601-612.
  • Synthesis and Characterization of Electropolymerized Porphyrin Nanofibers, M. G. Walter and C. C. Wamser, Matl. Res. Soc. Symp. Proc, 2007, 1013, Z04-07.
  • Biocompatible Composites of Polyaniline Nanofibers and Collagen, H.-S. Kim, H. L. Hobbs, L. Wang, M. Rutten, and C. C. Wamser, Synth. Metals, 2009, 159, 1313-1318.