Conducting polymers are remarkable materials which possess the electrical properties of metals, yet retain the mechanical properties of polymers. Although it is well known that the conductivity is strongly related to the structure and morphology, control of the solid state structure in order to induce desirable properties remains very difficult. Our group is interested in designing and synthesizing novel conducting polymers which will "self-assemble" into predictable and oriented structures, leading to very high conductivities. Usual synthetic methods to poly(3-alkylthiophenes) lead to a mixture of regiochemical structures. Many of these structures lead to defect states and adversely affect a number of the polymer's physical properties, including a reduction of the electrical conductivity of the polymer. We have developed a novel method which produces structurally homogeneous conducting poly(3- alkylthiophenes) and poly(3-substituted thiophenes). Our results indicate that there are striking differences in the structural, electrical, and optical properties of our poly(3-alkylthiophenes),which contain >95% of one regiochemical isomer. Since it is known that well-defined structures are key in investigating structure-property relationships in materials chemistry, these new materials will serve as key structures in defining the science behind these materials.
Research in our laboratory involves a variety of techniques including: synthetic organic, polymer, and inorganic chemistry involving bench, dry box, and vacuum line syntheses; NMR; electrochemical, electrical conductivity measurements; and X-ray powder/film studies, as well as typical spectroscopic techniques (i.e. IR, UV, etc.). Research projects can be tailored to include any or all of the above techniques.
Questions for the group in general can be addressed by calling 412-268-5101.