New Redox-Active Organic pi-Conjugated Building Blocks for Functional Nanoscale Materials and Devices
The rapid development of organic pi-conjugated materials has led to great advancement in cutting-edge technologies, such as energy storage and conversion, active displays, chemical and biological sensing, as well as nanoscale electronic and photonic devices. The advantages of organic materials lie in their easily tailored properties through chemical modifications and the low costs for material processing and device fabrication. In our recent research supported by NSERC Discovery Grant, significant breakthroughs have been made in the design and synthesis of a variety of redox-active conjugated molecules and relevant macromolecular systems. These materials have thus offered us versatile molecular “building blocks” to prepare novel nanoscale materials and to assemble advanced molecular devices.
This project aims to further the technological development of these new materials through a “rational molecular design” strategy, based upon our established knowledge and expertise. Experimentally, the research will first embark on advanced organic synthesis to produce functional materials with well-defined molecular structures, controllable electronic and redox properties, and programmable responsiveness to external stimuli. Using various modern synthetic methodologies, we will prepare redox-active tetrathiafulvalene (TTF) derivatives, pi-conjugated polymers (CPs), and functionalized polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). These compounds will serve as functional building blocks to generate nanoscale materials or devices featuring micro/mesoscopic ordering, enhanced optoelectronic performances, and controllable supramolecular behavior. The properties of the new materials to be developed will be systematically investigated by state-of-the-art characterization methods, along with theoretical modeling (e.g., ab initio and density functional theory calculations) in order to gain deeper insight into the fundamental structure-property relationships. Overall the research is expected to not only contribute transformative knowledge to fundamental science, but also deliver innovative concepts and methodologies for applications in organic semiconductors, selective sorption materials, efficient chemo-/biosensors, and other related fields. This program is multidisciplinary in nature and will consolidate extensive collaborations with other researchers on both national and international levels. In terms of HQP training, the implementation of this project will create a solid platform for training numerous undergraduate and graduate students, enabling them to fill high-demand roles in the high-tech workforces in Canada.