We build 1, 2 and 3-dimensional nanoassemblies from organic molecules. We study the structure, mechanics, dynamics, and energetics of these assemblies by applying the newest tools and techniques of nanometer-scale science and theory. By understanding the fundamentals of the structure – function relationship we can to tune the properties of these nanostructures for particular application.
We are particularly interested in synthetic porphyrins. They are an important class of organic semiconductors that structurally and functionally resemble natural light harvesting chromophores and are promising building blocks for organic electronics, photovoltaics, sensors, molecular recognition, and catalysts.
Porphyrins catalytic and sensing activities are based on the electronic configuration changes that enable axial ligation and deligation. Their ability to carry out molecular recognition is also based on axial coordination of ligands to the central metal in metal complexes. We are identifying the structural and electronic character of the metalloporphyrins during ligation/de-ligation processes which is crucial for the understanding how these structural changes influence the catalytic and recognition functions at a single molecule level.
Porphyrins can self-assemble into multidimensional functional nanostructures. Our research provides new insights about the structural, mechanical, and electronic changes associated with the formation of nanostructures from the electroactive monomers. By using a combination of experimental and mathematical simulation techniques we study the nucleation and growth of these nanostructures. We measure the mechanical properties of the porphyrin nanoassemblies and study their conductivity and photoconductivity. A fundamental understanding of the morphology-structure-mechanics – function relationships enables rational design of nanostructures for a particular electronic, photonic, or sensing application.
We are located in the VIF wing of Fulmer Hall at Washington State University and are a member of the Materials Science and Engineering Program.