Introducing Dr. Caitlin Sample

Multidimensional Synthesis of Organic Materials

March 18, 2020

From a materials perspective, one of the greatest strengths of organic synthesis is the ability to control structure across multiple length scales. In the design of organic materials, there is a wealth of transformations allowing for the precise arrangement of nearest-neighbor atoms at the nanoscale, the architecture of higher-order polymers and network topology at the microscale, and the overall macroscale form of the final material. It is the role of the materials scientist to bridge the gap between organic chemistry and materials engineering by identifying the potential of synthetic developments to produce novel functional materials. In this defense, four such examples will be presented. The first is a case study in purely small-molecule synthesis, with a modular approach allowing for precise control over asymmetric substitutions of rylenes for organic semiconductor applications. The second and third extend synthetic control to macromolecular systems by taking advantage of borane catalysis to generate organosilicon polymers and networks. The fourth and final example spans length-scales from nano to macro, as the inclusion of dynamic boronate bonds in a photo-curable resin enables 3D printing of self-healing, reconfigurable materials. Despite the range of synthetic approaches used and the diversity of materials that result, each of these studies demonstrate the fundamental interplay between synthetic and structural control.