Graduate Program


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Kraig A. Wheeler

Thesis Committee Member

Mary E. Konkle

Thesis Committee Member

Daniel J. Sheeran


Designing new materials with predictable chemical and physical properties has long been a goal of synthetic chemists. The functional properties of molecular compounds are intimately tied to the underlying chemical framework. In addition to atom selection and chemical connectivity, the spatial organization of the molecules often contributes to the function of materials. Because crystals are constructed of periodic arrays of components (i.e. atoms or molecules) with structures easily assessed via X-ray diffraction, crystalline materials offer ideal candidates to explore the relationship of component selection and crystal packing to material property.

One such property that has been extensively examined by scientists is UV initiated solid-state photodimerization reactions. If the underlying chemical structure of the material controls spatial proximity of the reacting synthons (i.e., C=C), it should be possible to use the directionality and organizational power of hydrogen bonds to construct predictable motifs that catalyze chemical reactivity in solids. Recent application of this approach to sulfonamide frameworks demonstrated the use of non-bonded contacts and molecular shape to generate reactive assemblies. Building on this work, this thesis explored the use of metal sulfonates to direct reactivity in crystals. Because the coordination environment of metals is often predictable, we envisioned metal centers serving as supramolecular tethers to align neighboring olefin groups for light-initiated reactions. The synthesis and crystal structures of a new family of five metal sulfonates were explored by spectropscopic and crystallographic techniques. X-ray analysis of these materials offered key insight to understand the structure-property relationships, including potential reactivity patterns, for this family of metal salts.

Included in

Chemistry Commons