Research Program

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Pharr Research Group Members - from left to right

  • Meghan Benda, Senior Chemistry Major with plans to attend graduate school.
  • Jessica Baker, Senior Chemistry Major with plans to attend graduate school.
  • Olivia Duletski, Junior Chemistry Major with plans to attend medical school.

OLED Background Information

Red, green, and blue light emitters supply devices with the full spectrum of colors for a display.  Currently, red and green emitting molecules have been synthesized with sufficiently long lifetimes and stabilities, while blue emitting molecules have struggled with these issues.  Our group is working to synthesize a new family of molecules that emit light in the blue range and have greater stability and longer lifetimes.  Students in my research lab are working to synthesize, purify, and characterize these molecules.   An emphasis on “greener” methods in organic synthesis is explored and employed whenever possible in this project.  Students also have the opportunity to work with many different instruments, including 1H NMR and GC-MS to verify the identity and purity of the molecules that are synthesized in our lab.  Fluorescence spectroscopy and cyclic voltammetry will be used to explore the photophysical and electronic properties of the molecules as they are synthesized.

What do we do in the lab?

Work on this project has involved synthesizing three subunit molecules (seen in red, green, and blue in the figure below) in order to link them together to make the parent molecule of interest.  This is a novel molecule, which has not beeen previously synthesized or studied.  All of the subunit molecules are initially brominated.  

Parent Molecule

This past summer we were able to borylate the termial diphenylacetlyene subunit (blue).  This was accomplished through a lithium-halogen exchange reaction using n-BuLi as seen below. We were able to verify the identity and purity of this compound via GC-MS analysis.

Lithium-Halogen Exchange Reaction

GC-MS of Borylated Diphenylacetylene

Currently we are attempting to link the subunits together through a Suzuki coupling reaction (see scheme below).   Upon making the parent molecule we will study its properties (stability, photophysical properties, and electronic properties) and will begin to work to synthesize derivatives of the parent molecule by varying the aromatic group that links the dendron to the carbazole and by introducing various functional groups to the carbazole in place of hydrogens.  This approach will allow for a large family of molecules to be systematically synthesized, characterized, and studied.

Suzuki Coupling Reaction

Presentations by Pharr Research Group Members

Meghan Benda presents her results at the Fall Social for the Montana American Chemical Society at Fairmont Hot Springs on October 25th, 2014. 

Myunghoon (Hoonie) Kim presents his results at the National Meeting of the American Chemical Society in New Orleans, LA at the Spring 2013 meeting. 

Past Pharr Research Group Members

Alyssa Carlson (2014) - Graduate student in the school of Cellular, Molecular, and Biomedical Scienes at the University of Vermont pursuing a Ph.D.

Myunghoon (Hoonie) Kim (2014) - Research Fellow at the NIH in Washington DC.

Codi Krueger (2014) - Catholic missionary serving the homeless in Denver, CO. 

Emily Ross (2014) - Research technician at Seattle Children's Hospital.

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