Molecular Design and Synthesis

Careful control of the molecule/nanotube and molecule/graphene interfaces will play a key role in obtaining reproducible single molecule electrical measurements. Although pyrene derivatives and other polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) bind strongly to graphene and CNTs, they lack precise control over the distance and orientation of the molecule, key factors that influence the kinetics of electron transfer. To address this challenge, we have designed several series of compounds that exhibit directionally-specific noncovalent interactions with graphene and carbon nanotubes. These new binding units are designed to allow modular incorporation into a wide variety of molecular systems with electronic, photophysical, or molecular recognition properties of interest.

A terpyridyl-coordinated metal complex bridging two carbon nanotubes.

Two-dimensional COFs often stack in an eclipsed fashion in the third dimension, providing porous materials with long range order.

Another area of interest within the CMI is the study of designed two and three-dimensional organic networks known as covalent organic frameworks (COFs).  These materials offer a means to predictably assemble a wide variety of organic compounds into solid-state structure with long-range order.  We are developing new synthetic methods to broaden the scope of compounds that can be assembled into COFs, studying their optical and electronic properties, and incorporating them into devices.