Mentor: Professor Frank Mallory
[n]Phenacenes are large polycyclic aromatic compounds with n fused benzene rings in an extended zig zag pattern that resembles long sheets of graphite ribbons. Due to their pi system, these molecules are thought to relate to graphite’s property of electrical conductivity.
Over the years, the Mallory research group has successfully synthesized phenacenes with up to 11 fused benzene rings and are now working towards synthesizing the phenacene and phenacene derivatives. Due to the insoluble nature of these molecules, different solubilizing groups have been attached to the phenacene backbone in order to make the synthesis of larger phenacenes possible. One of the solubilizing groups under investigation is the long-chain polyether CH3 (OCH2CH2)3 O. This group is abbreviated RO in the molecular structure shown below of the phenacene derivative that is a current synthesis target.
Aside from carrying out experiments to determine the effectiveness of these polyether groups as solubilizing side chains, my research will also involve preparing compounds that are required in the initial stages of the multi-step synthesis schemes designed to produce [n]phenacenes with 15 and 19 fused rings.