Brandi M. Cossairt

Charles T. Campbell, PhD.Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Ph.D. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2010
(Inorganic and Materials Chemistry)

(206) 543-4643


Cossairt group website


Research Interests

We are a synthetic inorganic chemistry group focused on building up molecules and materials for targeted applications in light harvesting and catalysis. Using the tools and methods of inorganic and main-group synthesis we are synthesizing new III-V nanostructures and clusters and designing bifunctional electrocatalyst-nanoparticle composites. Along the way we are preparing new molecular precursors, creating new synthetic methodologies, and developing a complete toolbox for tailoring nanoparticle surfaces. A diverse array of characterization techniques including optical spectroscopy, electrochemistry, NMR, electron microscopy, and X-ray diffraction allow us to analyze our new compounds and direct future synthetic strategies.


Colloidal III-V Materials for Light Harvesting

Recent analysis has suggested that a practical single-junction power conversion efficiency limit of 17% is possible for nanostructured photovoltaics, which, when combined with operating lifetimes of 10 to 15 years, could position them as a transformational technology for solar energy markets. III-V semiconductor materials in particular have long shown great promise for light harvesting applications, however the available colloidal methods to access them have remained limited, both in scope and quality. As group V chemists, our group is uniquely positioned to tackle this challenge. Using a variety of synthetic techniques involving molecular phosphorus (P4, red P), group V zintl ions (E73-, E113-, E64-; E = P, As), new secondary and tertiary phosphine and arsine precursors, as well as a diverse array of group III complexes and clusters, we will transform the ways people typically approach the synthesis of these semiconductor nanoparticles. Post-synthetic surface chemistry will play a key role in developing material systems optimized for device integration.


Catalyst–Nanoparticle Conjugates for Small Molecule Transformation

Semiconductor nanoparticles are attractive for their use as light harvesting antennas given their high extinction coefficients across a range of visible and near-infrared wavelengths, solution processability, and their tunable surface chemistry. We want to make use of these strengths by coupling molecular catalysts to nanoparticle surfaces in order to drive a variety of small molecule transformations using light. These composite systems are great candidates for studying a variety of fundamental processes that occur at the nanoparticle-catalyst interface, providing a bridge between more traditional heterogeneous and homogeneous catalytic systems. A diverse array of semiconductor materials (II-VI, IV-VI, III-V, transition metal oxides and sulfides) will be explored in conjunction with molecular catalysts primed for reducing substrates such as H2, N2, CO2, and CO, as well as oxidizing substrates, such as water.

Representative Publications

Gary, D.C.; Cossairt, B.M. The Role of Acid During InP Quantum Dot Synthesis. Chem. Mater. 2013, 25 (12), 2463–2469.


Garcia, R.; Hendricks, M.P.; Cossairt, B.M.; Liu, H.; Owen, J.S. Conversion Reactions of Cadmium Chalcogenide Nanocrystal Precursors. Chem. Mater. 2013, 25 (8), 1233–1249.


Cossairt, B.M.; Owen, J.S. CdSe clusters: At the interface of small molecules and quantum dots. Chem. Mater. 2011, 23 (12), 3114–3119.


Cossairt, B.M.; Cummins, C.C. Molecular Gallium Arsenide Phosphide Clusters Prepared From AsP3, P4, and [{GaC(SiMe3)3}4]. Chem. Eur. J. 2010, 16 (42), 12603–12608.


Cossairt, B.M.; Piro, N.A.; Cummins, C.C. Early-Transition-Metal Mediated Activation and Transformation of White Phosphorus. Chem. Rev. 2010, 110 (7), 4164–4177.


Cossairt, B.M.; Cummins, C.C. Radical Synthesis of Trialkyl, Triaryl, Trisilyl, and Tristannyl Phosphines from P4. New J. Chem. 2010, 34, 1533–1536 (journal cover).


Cossairt, B.M.; Cummins, C.C. Properties and Reactivity Patterns of AsP3: An Experimental and Computational Study of Group 15 Elemental Molecules. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2009, 131 (42), 15501–15511.


Cossairt, B.M.; Diawara, M.C.; Cummins, C.C. Facile Synthesis of AsP3. Science 2009, 323, 602.


Cossairt, B.M.; Cummins, C.C. A Niobium-Mediated Cycle Producing Phosphorus-Rich Organic Molecules from White Phosphorus (P4) via Activation, Functionalization, and Transfer Reactions. Angew. Chem., Int. Ed. 2008, 47 (46), 8863–8866.


Hu, X.; Cossairt, B.M.; Brunschwig, B.S.; Lewis, N.S.; Peters, J.C. Electrocatalytic Hydrogen Evolution by Cobalt Difluoroboryldiglyoximate Complexes. Chem. Commun. 2005, 37, 4723–4725.

Awards & Activities

  • Sloan Research Fellowship, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation (2015)
  • Non-tenured Faculty Award, 3M (2015)
  • Award for Early Career Achievement, Seattle Chapter of the Association for Women in Science (2015)
  • Innovation Award, University of Washington (2014)
  • Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Postdoctoral Fellowship, NIH (2010)
  • Alan Davison Ph.D. Thesis Prize, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2010)
  • Young Investigator Award, Division of Inorganic Chemistry, American Chemical Society (2009)


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