Professor Andrew B. Bocarsly of Princeton University is supported by the Inorganic, Bioinorganic and Organometallic Chemistry program to explore the rational synthesis of cyanogels - a class of coordination polymers based on the reactivity of cyanometalate transtion metal complexes that form as hydrogels from aqueous solution. Cyanogel processing provides a new synthetic avenue to the development of metal alloy systems and thus, these novel materials will be investigated in terms of their interesting magnetic properties and potential to act as cellular building blocks. In a separate thrust, the direct microwave processing of the cyanogel systems will be developed and the mechanism of metal formation will studied. Synthetic advantage will be taken of the faster processing times and unique absorption of 12 cm microwaves to form zerogel and aerogel states. New morphologies are expected to lead to new materials properties such as superparamagnetic and nanometric particles.
This project will provide undergraduate and graduate students with an excellent introduction to interdisciplinary research. This project will also impact K-12 education in the greater Princeton, NJ area as Professor Bocarsly is actvely involved in a variety of K-12 outreach programs including the directorship of the NY/NJ Partners in Science Program, a six university consortium, that bring high school science teachers into research labs as active researchers for two consecutive summers. Professor Bocarsly also utilizes the results of his cyanogel research in his role as a science advisor to the West Windsor-Painsboro Regional School disctrict through such programs as the NSF sponsored E=mc2 inquiry-based science program, and Princeton University's Quest program. It is estimated that approximately 500 K-12 student per year are impacted by Professor Bocarsly's actvities in these programs.