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Brandi M. Cossairt

Charles T. Campbell, PhD.Associate Professor of Chemistry

Associate Editor, Inorganic 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.


Phosphide and Arsenide Colloidal Nanocrystals: Synthesis, Structure, Mechanism

We are interested in developing radically new methods for the synthesis of challenging covalent semiconductor materials useful in light harvesting and light emitting technologies. Nucleation and growth are inherently difficult to separate in this class of materials and we are facing this challenge through precursor design and methodology development. Developing the chemistry of magic-sized cluster intermediates is emerging as a critical component of this research.


Interfacial Chemistry of Colloidal Materials, Heterostructures, and Catalyst Assemblies

One of the primary challenges in solar fuels (and related electrocatalytic) technologies is managing charge transfer at interfaces. Our research focuses on the use of coordination chemistry principles to promote efficient charge transfer in these complex systems. This project combines surface chemistry and catalyst development with chromophore design to construct complete chemical systems for light-driven fuels generation.


New Platforms for Bimetallic Catalysts: Ligand Development, Organometallic Complexation, Catalysis

There has been longstanding interest in the catalytic transformation of the gaseous C1 feedstocks CO and CO2. Renewed attention is needed in this area due to concerns about the rising cost and limited availability of petroleum as a primary resource for the production of hydrocarbon fuels and organic chemicals. Our research in this area is focused on innovative ligand design to enable cooperative ligand-mediated transformations and support multiple metal centers that are independently optimized to activate diverse substrates. Metal-ligand and metal-metal cooperativity is aimed at delivering value added chemicals from base feedstocks.


Representative Publications


Henckel, D. A.; Lenz, O.; Cossairt, B. M. Effect of Ligand Coverage on the Hydrogen Evolution Reaction Catalyzed by WSe2. ACS Catal. 2017, 7, 2815–2820.


Norris, M. R.; Flowers, S. E.; Mathews, A. M. Cossairt, B. M. H2 Production Mediated by CO2 via Initial Reduction to Formate. Organometallics 2016, 35, 2778–2781.


Glassy, B. A.; Cossairt, B. M. Resolving the Chemistry of Zn3P2 Nanocrystal Growth. Chem. Mater. 2016, 28, 6374–6380.


Stein, J. L.; Mader, E. A.; Cossairt, B. M. Luminescent InP Quantum Dots with Tunable Emission by Post-Synthetic Modification with Lewis Acids. J. Phys. Chem. Lett. 2016, 7, 1315–1320.


Gary, D. C.; Flowers, S. E.; Petrone, A.; Li, X.; Kaminsky, W.; Cossairt, B. M. Single Crystal and Electronic Structure of a 1.3 nm Indium Phosphide Nanocluster. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2016, 138, 1510–1513.


Gary, D. C.; Terban, M. W.; Billinge, S. J. L.; Cossairt, B. M. Two-Step Nucleation and Growth of InP Quantum Dots via Magic-Sized Cluster Intermediates. Chem. Mater. 2015, 27, 1432–1441.


Gary, D. C.; Cossairt, B. M. Role of Acid in Precursor Conversion 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.

More Publications...

Awards & Activities

  • Associate Editor, Inorganic Chemistry (2018-present)
  • Kavli Fellow, National Academy of Sciences (2017)
  • Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award (2017)
  • Reviewer Award, Chemistry of Materials (2016)
  • NSF CAREER Award (2016)
  • Packard Fellowship for Science & Engineering (2015)
  • Sloan Research Fellowship (2015)
  • 3M Non-tenured Faculty Award (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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