My research focuses on the behaviour of metal oxide materials, such as polyoxometalates, at the interface with water and other small molecules. See http://moleculargeo.chem.umu.se/ohlin/
One of the most significant challenges in geochemistry, biogeochemistry and materials chemistry is connecting our understanding of molecular properties on the microscopic scale with the macroscopic properties of extended solids, such as minerals and heterogeneous catalysts. The direct study of surface reactivities generally yield average reactivities, which provide little insight into the molecular mechanisms. The most direct way to circumvent this problem is to use models in lieu of studying extended solid material directly, whether experimentally or in silico. At extended mineral surfaces, models must typically be nano-metre sized to exhibit mineral-like behaviour.
Polyoxometalates make up a structurally and chemically diverse class of discrete polyanionic metal oxide clusters. They possess several attractives features, including oxidative stability and bioactivity, and they resemble small fragments of minerals in terms of structural features, and study of how this class of compounds behaves in solution can teach us a lot about the surface chemistry of minerals and heterogeneous catalysts.