Honors Thesis Abstracts

Chemistry 2014 Theses

Students Present Their Research Findings at the Manion Symposium

Seventeen students in the Natural Sciences Department presented their research results at the Manion Symposium at Carroll College on Thursday, April 10th.  These students have all written an honors thesis on their research project.  Below are the titles, abstracts, and pictures of the four students who conducted chemistry research, as well as additional pictures of the Manion Symposium. 

Electrophilicity of Cu-bound Nitriles: Toward a Method for [2 2 2] Cyclizations

Nicole Broden- Chemistry

Copper nitrile systems were explored to determine the change in nitrile nucleophilicity upon coordination to copper. Both Cu(I) and Cu(II) were explored. Complexes bearing electron-withdrawing nitriles and electron-donating nitriles were analyzed using FTIR spectroscopy.  The findings that Cu(I) is more reactive than Cu(II) and that an electron-withdrawing functional group on the nitrile allows better coordination are being applied to determine conditions suitable for nitrile cyclotrimerization to generate triazines.  Such a synthesis could provide a cheap and sustainable alternative transition metal for promoting cyclotrimerization reactions than is currently available.

Research conducted at Carroll College (Chemistry Department) - Dr. Colin Thomas

Synthesis and Study of Conjugated Carbazole Derivatives for Potential Use in Organic Light Emitting Diodes (OLEDs)

Alyssa Carlson - Biology

Organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs) are devices that use thin films of organic molecules to create light when electricity is applied. A full color display consists of red, green, and blue light emissions. Stable, long lived, red and green light emitting molecules have been successfully synthesized. Blue light emitting molecules have been synthesized, but suffer shorter lifetimes and less stability than red and green light emitting molecules. My research is currently focused on synthesizing conjugated carbazole centered compounds with the hope of creating a stable blue light emitting molecule. The parent molecule consists of 2,7-dibromocarbazole which will be coupled with two terminal subunits, 1-(2’,3’,4’,5’-tetraphenyl) phenyl-4-bromobenzene and 4-bromodiphenyl-acetylene (DPA). The DPA subunit was formed through a Sonogashira coupling of a phenylacetylene with an aryl halide. The DPA was then borylated via a Lithium-Halogen Exchange in order to be coupled to the central carbazole moiety. Current work involves producing diphenylacetylene, borylating it, and linking it to the carbazole through a Suzuki coupling reaction.

Research conducted at Carroll College (Chemistry Department) - Dr. Caroline Pharr

Synthesis and Study of a Novel Family of Conjugated Carbazole Centered Compounds with Potential Applications in Organic Light-Emitting Diodes (OLEDs)

Myunghoon Kim - Chemistry

Organic Light-Emitting Diodes (OLEDs) have been of great interest in various technological applications. Currently, there have been many successful syntheses of stable organic compounds capable of emitting red and green light. However, synthesis of stable blue light-emitting compounds has proven to be challenging. Synthesis of a novel family of carbazole centered molecules is underway with hopes of creating a stable blue light emitter. The parent compound is comprised of three subunit molecules, which to date have been synthesized: 4-bromodiphenylacetylene, 2,7-dibromocarbazole, and 1-(2`,3`,4`,5`-tetraphenyl)phenyl-4-bromobenzene (dendron). Currently, an aryl boronate ester synthesis followed by a Suzuki coupling reaction is being carried out to link the subunit molecules together and yield the parent compound of interest. Upon synthesis of the parent molecule, its properties will be studied via UV-vis, fluorescence spectroscopy and cyclic voltammetry. Light emission will be studied and tested in solution and in thin film form, before and after exposure to air and heat.

Research conducted at Carroll College (Chemistry Department) - Dr. Caroline Pharr

Nitrogen and Carbon Cycling of Sustainable Agricultural Methods in Second Generation Biofuel Grasses

Emily Orenstein-Chemistry

Crop treatment practices have a possible effect on nitrogen and carbon cycling as nitrogen and carbon are used as plant nutrients. As part of the denitrification process in the soil, nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas, is released into the atmosphere. By evaluating the amount of greenhouse gases released by specific crop management practices, a reduction in the amount of greenhouse gases released can be developed in future agricultural systems. Crop treatment of miscanthus, switchgrass, maize, prairie, and sorghum were varied to see the effects of differing levels of nitrogen fertilizer treatment. The effects on nitrogen and carbon cycling of the different crop management practices were measured by determining the total organic carbon in a sample, the level of greenhouse gas emission, and the amount of ammonium and nitrate in the soil sample. This project’s outcomes add to the understanding of soil carbon and nitrogen cycling and greenhouse gas emission from the soil. The type of crop and type of fertilizer have strong impacts on the pathways for nitrogen loss and carbon availability.

Research conducted at Purdue University - NSF REU Program


Manion Symposium Pictures

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