Phillip Power, Susan M. Kauzlarich and Matthew P. Augustine of the Department of Chemsitry at the University of California at Davis will examine the synthesis and characterization of a series of silicon, germanium and tin-based cluster compounds, of the formula EnRm (E = Si, Ge or Sn; R = alkyl, aryl or amide ligand; n > 10 < ca. 200; n > m). In this research, funded by the Division of Chemistry, the Division of Materials Research and the Office of Multidisciplinary Activities, these Si and Sn-containing clusters, where Si, Ge and Sn are also called the heavier tetrel elements, will be synthesized by a variety of approaches under controlled conditions. Preliminary work has produced capped clusters of crystalline tetrels that have relatively uniform sizes from nanoscale dimensions to as low as ca. 10-20 angstrom (ca. 25-200 atoms). Through the isolation of well-formed crystals of such clusters, molecular techniques, e.g. with NMR or X-ray crystallography, will afford more precise data than currently available for the characterization of small nanoclusters.
This research will produce new cluster phases, especially of silicon and germanium, that are likely to have potential electronics applications and/or novel optical properties owing to changes in their electronic properties from those seen in the bulk state. The collaborative nature of the proposal, combined with the diverse nature of the three research groups, will provide outstanding opportunities for undergraduates, graduate students, and post-docs to acquire knowledge and skills in very broad areas of research, including solution chemistry, materials chemistry and NMR spectroscopy in both the liquid and solid phases. This project is funded through the Collaborative Research in Chemistry Program (CRC).