The Chemical Structure, Dynamics and Mechanisms Program in the Chemistry Division at the National Science Foundation supports Professor Paul Wenthold of Purdue University for the measurement of spin state energies of nitrenes using negative ion photoelectron spectroscopy. The two main goals of this research are to understand the role of radical stabilizing moieties, such as furanyl and pyridinyl-N-oxide, on the ground and excited state energies, and to study the effect of geometrical constraints on these measurements through the use of angular groups.
Broader impacts of the research include the advanced experimental apparatus in the Wenthold laboratory for making measurements of high spin state energies, providing a unique training ground for scientists at all levels. Gas-phase studies of reactivity and structure can impact all areas of chemistry, as well as other disciplines such as material science and engineering, and aromatic nitrenes have been proposed to have applications in cross-linking experiments, photolithography, as light-sensitive agents in photographic processes and in photoresist technology. The work also has the potential to impact the development of new photoaffinity labels for identifiying the binding sites of proteins involved in biological mechanisms. The Wenthold laboratory has a strong reputation for training female scientists, and they will launch a new effort with this grant to mentor graduate students with families, whose particular challenges in higher education are often overlooked.