|dc.description.abstract||Part 1: Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are allotropes of carbon that have emerged as candidates for implementation in electronic devices ranging from transistors to solar cells. Unfortunately, the behavior of CNTs is highly dependent on their structure and modern synthetic methods for generating CNTs are not able to provide uniform samples for electronic applications. Recently, the synthesis of cycloparaphenylenes (CPPs), which closely resemble metallic CNTs, has been elucidated and has since been further expanded to allow for the CPPs of varying diameters and subunits. More importantly, CPPs were also shown to allow for the controlled bottom-up synthesis of CNTs, opening the door towards the concise synthesis of CNTs.
Herein, we will outline our synthetic attempts towards the synthesis of zigzag cyclacenes and how the creation of a zigzag nanobelt could bring forth the defined synthesis of semiconducting zigzag nanotubes. Drawing inspiration from previous attempts at cyclacenes and the successful synthesis of CPPs, we set out to construct a zigzag macrocycle using a Diels-Alder approach with pyrene as the backbone of the cycle. We were able to successfully construct the cyclic precursor to the cyclacene following numerous attempts; however, isolation of the fully aromatized product was not accomplished because the strain exhibited by the cycle led to an over reduction.
Our search to create cyclacenes led us towards phosphonium salts as a new method for the mild creation of benzyne. Unfortunately, the phosphonium benzyne performed poorly due to regioselectivity issues, but in trying to create the aryl phosphonium salts, we created a new route towards these compounds. Herein, we will describe our development of a metal free synthesis of aryl phosphonium salts. When aryl halides are irradiated with UV light in the presence of a phosphine, the two species can couple leading to the formation of the phosphonium salt. The reaction is amenable to a variety of phosphines and can proceed with aryl chlorides, iodides, bromides, and pseudohalides.
Part 2: Conjugated polymers have gained a great deal of interest as these compounds can be used as active materials and enable the creation of lightweight, flexible, and low-cost electronic devices. Critical to the advancement of these technologies is the creation of new synthetic methods and facile access to material. Herein, we will outline the development of new synthetic techniques for the creating conjugated polymers.
First, we will discuss the development of a new metal free dehydrative polymerization of thiazole N-oxides. Drawing inspiration from nature and from the industrial synthesis of commodity polymers, such as PET and nylon-6,6, we developed a new transformation that can dimerize thiazole N-oxides in the absence of a metal with the formal loss of water being the sole byproduct. This methodology was later extended onto bifunctional monomers and allowed for the synthesis of conjugated polymers in quantitative yield and good molecular weights.
Secondly, we will discuss the design and synthesis of a new palladium precatalyst for the synthesis of conjugated polymers through direct arylation polymerization. Conjugated polymers are mostly synthesized using transition metal couplings such as Stille or Suzuki couplings; however, these methods require pre- functionalization and can leave behind toxic byproducts. Direct arylation polymerization has recently emerged as a new technique for synthesizing conjugated polymers; however, the nature of the propagating species means that conjugated polymers created this way are more prone to branching/crosslinking defects. We designed a palladium precatalyst specifically for direct arylation polymerization that can reduce unwanted functionalization while providing good molecular weights, high yields, lower loadings, and improved thermal properties.||en