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The general research interests of the Naumov research group span a broad range of advanced materials science topics, and the specific research foci are related to four directions:
- smart materials for energy transduction in electronics and soft robotics
- functional molecular solids, dynamic crystalline materials, actuators
- organic and molecular solid materials, crystallography
- petroleomics (chemistry of oil)
The Naumov research group is the leading team with regards to chemistry research in the UAE, with research output that according to the Nature Index, accounts for an impressive 63 percent in 2015 and 67 percent in 2016 of the total chemistry publications from groups within the country, both in fractional count and weighed fractional count. Over the past five years, the Naumov team has raised over USD 3.6 million of funding. The past and current research projects in the Naumov group have been sponsored by Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC), Human Science Frontier Program Organization (HFSPO), and UAE National Research Foundation (NRF), in addition to a generous financial support from NYUAD.
At the core of the current research in the Naumov group is the design, preparation and characterization of new smart materials with exotic properties, some of which are applicable to efficient and controllable energy transduction of light and heat into work.
Examples of the most recent discoveries of the Naumov group include:
- self-healing and shape-memory crystals
- organic martensites
- mechanically deformable crystals
- biogenic and pathological crystals
- biomineralization using viral particles
- superhydrophobic self-cleaning surfaces
The research involving mechanistic studies and application of salient crystals, a new class of molecular crystalline solids that can rapidly transduce energy into mechanical motion and work at a millisecond time-scale, has received much international acclaim.
Part of the team has been working to develop a new analytical method based on X-ray diffraction for the direct observation of chemical reactions and physical processes with atomic scale resolution. By using lasers and X-rays, the method of photocrystallography (X-ray photodiffraction) combines the photochemistry/physics principles with diffraction methods to peak into the structure of unstable and transient molecular species and reaction intermediates, even when the samples are available in very small amounts or are liquid at ambient conditions. In an international collaboration project sponsored by the Human Frontier Science Program, the group has also made a significant contribution to the field of chemiluminescence and bioluminescence, by unraveling fundamental processes of conversion of the energy stored within the chemical bonds into light.
The most recent research endeavor of Naumov’s research group is in the petroleomics (chemistry of oil). In a project sponsored by both Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) the team has set up a new laboratory for petroleomics research at NYUAD, which aims to solve issues related to the precipitation of complex chemical components from the heavy oil fractions.