Luke M. Davis

Department of Chemistry
Pearson Chemistry Laboratory
62 Talbot Avenue
Tufts University 
Medford, MA 02155 


Cell: 217-552-6134  Fax: 617-627-3443

E-mail: lukemdavis@fas.harvard.edu 

Research Homepage

Current Appointment


(Fall 2018) Assistant Professor of Chemistry, Department of Chemistry




Postdoctoral Fellow and Research Associate, 2014-18, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA

Ph.D., 2014, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL

BS/MS, 2007/08, The College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA


Research Interests

Inorganic and Materials Chemistry.  The Davis research group will discover new compounds and fabrication routes which contribute to increased sustainability and greater chemical understanding. Our efforts will focus on synthesis, screening, and characterization, with additional opportunities for learning and collaboration in device construction, theory, and advanced characterization methods. Our work will begin in the following three areas, utilizing inorganic synthesis to enable advances in materials and devices.


Earth-abundant molecular light absorbers and emitters.

Molecular light absorbers and emitters are used in photoredox catalysis, dye-sensitized solar cells, and organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs). We will make these applications more sustainable by replacing the expensive platinum-group metal centers with earth-abundant transition metals. Rather than trying to force base metals to behave like Ru and Ir, we will embrace the high-spin preferences of first-row transition metals such as Fe and Mn to prepare new absorbers. We will eliminate low-lying, deactivating excited states by manipulating the ligand field strength, coordination geometry, and d-electron count. This development of high-spin molecules—currently underexplored as absorbers and emitters—may enhance widespread adoption of OLED displays.


Volatile molecules carrying metal-atom equivalents for superconducting wires.
Cryogenic superconducting wires enable quantum bits based on Josephson junctions. We will assist in scaling this technology by developing routes to chemical vapor deposition of superconducting wires based on electropositive metals such as Al, Ti, Nb, and Mg. We will prepare new volatile molecules containing metal centers in low formal oxidation states. These molecules are designed to serve as highly reactive sources of electrons or metal atoms. By employing these molecules in depositing thin films of metals, our work may allow advances in superconducting circuitry.


Thin-film photovoltaics with earth-abundant, sulfide-based absorber layers.
Thin-film photovoltaics (PVs) provide electricity from sunlight with just a few hundred nm of light-absorbing material. However, these absorbers typically require very rare or toxic elements. We will enable widespread deployment of inexpensive thin-film PV by developing earth-abundant, nontoxic absorbers. Beginning with binary and ternary sulfides, we will build a process to screen candidate absorber layers and pair them with appropriate charge-transporting layers. By focusing on film synthesis as a chemical challenge, and isolating faults in individual layers and interfaces, we will build these materials into devices and provide new sources of earth-abundant PV.



Selected Recent Publications


"Vapor deposition of copper(I) bromide films via two-step conversion process," R. Heasley, C. M. Chang, L. M. Davis, K. Liu, R. G. Gordon, J. Vac. Sci. Technol. A 2017, 35, 01B109/1-01B109/7. doi: 10.1116/1.4967726


"Synthesis of Calcium(II) Amidinate Precursors for Atomic Layer Deposition through a Redox Reaction between Calcium and Amidines," S. B. Kim, C. Yang, T. Powers, L. M. Davis, X. Lou, R. G. Gordon, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2016, 55, 10228-10233. doi: 10.1002/anie.201602406


"Low-temperature CVD of thin films of iron, cobalt, and nickel nitrides from bis[di(tert-butyl)amido]metal(II) precursors and ammonia," A. N. Cloud, L. M. Davis, G. S. Girolami, J. R. Abelson, J. Vac. Sci. Technol. A 2014, 32, 020606/1-020606/7. doi: 10.1116/1.4865903


"Low-temperature CVD of η-Mn3N2−x from bis[di(tert-butyl)amido]manganese(II) and ammonia," T. S. Spicer, C. W. Spicer, A. N. Cloud, L. M. Davis, G. S. Girolami, J. R. Abelson, J. Vac. Sci. Technol. A 2013, 31, 030604/1-030604/6. doi: 10.1116/1.4799036


"Latent Synthesis of Electrically Conductive Surface-Silvered Polyimide Films," L. M. Davis, C. J. Abelt, J. L. Scott, E. Orlova, D. W. Thompson, ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2009, 1, 204-210. doi: 10.1021/am800023b


"Novel and Facile Approach to the Fabrication of Metal-Patterned Dielectric Substrates," L. M. Davis, D. W. Thompson, Chem. Mater. 2007, 19, 2299-2303. doi: 10.1021/cm062372y


"Palladium-Polyimide Nanocomposite Membranes: Synthesis and Characterization of Reflective and Electrically Conductive Surface-Metallized Films," B. L. French, L. M. Davis, E. S. Munzinger, J. W. J. Slavin, P. C. Christy, D. W. Thompson, R. E. Southward, Chem. Mater. 2005, 17, 2091-2100. doi: 10.1021/cm040378m




Complete listing of publications can be found HERE.