With this award, the Organic and Macromolecular Chemistry Program supports Professor John Lavigne of the University of South Carolina whose research will study self-assembling materials based on boronate ester formation. This covalent yet reversible assembly strategy represents a novel paradigm in designing new molecular assemblies, providing a modular and predictable route to generate network and linear polymeric materials. The project utilizes trigonal planar boron compounds and polytrophic di-Lewis basic compounds (i.e. diols, diamines) in non-aqueous media, forming boronate linkages between building blocks. This approach is in contrast to the majority of molecular recognition literature on boronic acid/ester equilibria which focuses on the assembly of two molecular units. A series of functionalized covalent organic frameworks (COFs) will be synthesized as well as other novel unsubstituted frameworks by varying the shape, size, valency and di-Lewis basic linkers of the building blocks. Studies to probe the stability, structure, porosity and gas uptake and storage of these new frameworks will be carried out. Additionally, a series of linear poly (boronate)s will be synthesized and their mechanical and electronic properties investigated. These polymers are expected to have physical properties analogous to both traditional covalent polymers and supramolecular polymers, taking the best from both worlds to create new hybrid materials. Furthermore, functional conjugated poly (boronate)s will be studied to decipher their properties and potential roles as emissive or possibly conducting materials.
With this award, the Organic and Macromolecular Chemistry Program supports Professor John Lavigne of the University of South Carolina whose research will prepare boronate linked networks and linear polymers that will ultimately lead to the creation of new nano-scale materials for potential applications in the areas of separations, catalysis, storage, optical materials, and sensing. Dr. Lavigne and his students (both graduate and undergraduate) will be exposed to a wide range of topics including organic, materials, physical, and supramolecular chemistry. Students will receive training in a highly multidisciplinary environment to become better problem solvers not just on the microscale, but also on a more global scale. Furthermore, given the diverse nature of the project, students will need to interact with other researchers and work in groups, helping them develop communication skills and learn to work as part of a team. Support from this grant will allow students to continue the pursuit of their educational and professional goals while also supporting the development of community outreach and curriculum development for primarily non-scientist audiences.