Overview: Our research is focused on developing new bonding arrangements at boron and subsequently exploring the chemistry of these compounds. The desired compounds will have unusual properties and be examined for their utility as reagents, in electronic materials, Lewis acid mediated catalysis and ligands for transition metals. Our research interests span the fields of organometallic, organic, and materials chemistry.
Organic Materials: Boron heterocycles with conjugated pi-systems have unique photophysical properties which offer great potential in electronic devices, specifically organic photovoltaic solar cells and organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs). The incorporation of a tricoordinate boron center with a vacant p orbital in unsaturated systems serves as a means of lowering the LUMO of the molecule which leads to a decrease in HOMO-LUMO gap as well as enhances electron accepting abilities. Despite their potential utility, progress in this field has been stifled greatly due to the lack of synthetic routes to prepare boron-containing heterocycles. Our group is focused on developing novel synthetic routes to generate these species and subsequently exploring their photophysical properties to investigate their utility in electronic devices.
Catalysis: The electron deficiency of associated with neutral tricoordinate boron compounds makes them very useful Lewis acids. The library of powerful Lewis acidic boranes is quite limited. We are preparing boranes with unusual geometries with the goal of developing catalysts capable of promoting hydrogenation, hydrosilation, and polymerization reactions.
Training of next generation scientists: Students in the group will become experts in synthetic chemistry including air/moisture sensitive manipulations (glove box and Schlenk techniques). Students will be exposed to multinuclear NMR spectroscopy (1H, 11B, 13C, 31P), X-Ray Crystallography, Mass Spectrometry, as well as FT-IR, Fluorescence, and UV-Vis spectroscopy.
We are very grateful to the following agencies for funding our research (only active grants listed):