With this CAREER Award, the Chemistry Synthesis program is supporting the research of Professor Ramesh Jasti at Boston University. Professor Jasti will develop organic synthesis tools that will ultimately enable the preparation of structurally well-defined carbon nanotubes (CNTs). CNTs are among the most promising materials in nanoscience due to their unique electronic and optical properties. Current synthetic methods, however, produce CNT mixtures that have different arrangements of carbon atoms and, therefore, different physical properties. To achieve this goal, Professor Jasti and his group will develop syntheses of several polyaromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) belts - short fragments of carbon nanotubes. Aside from their relationship to CNTs, these structures have been long sought non-natural targets of synthesis for decades. A prerequisite to these syntheses is the development of methodologies that can construct highly strained PAHs. With these belt structures in hand, a Diels-Alder polymerization reaction to extend these belts into longer carbon nanotubes will be developed.

CNTs have shown promise as new solar energy materials, components of faster electronics, and single molecule biosensors. Syntheses of CNTs with well-defined, homogeneous structures will greatly facilitate engineers, physicists, and materials scientists in the development of these potentially revolutionary nanotechnologies. In addition to enabling new CNT technologies, the proposed program will train interdisciplinary scientists with the ability to apply complex molecule synthesis to problems in nanoscience. Professor Jasti's choice of synthetic targets will provide graduate and undergraduate students with a thorough background in synthetic organic strategy, methodology development, and reaction mechanism. In addition, in order to provide an interdisciplinary science experience to high school students, Professor Jasti will develop science workshops partnering with the Steppingstone Foundation and the Upward Bound Math and Science Program.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Chemistry (CHE)
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Tingyu Li
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University of Oregon Eugene
United States
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