Formation and Observation of Highly Reactive, Cross-Conjugated Molecules
Cross-conjugated molecules have a very short lifetime and readily react with themselves or other molecules. Molecules such as p-xylylene exist only in dilute solutions or as a vapor. When the molecules come in contact, they form the commercial plastic Parylene, a non-porous protective coating for mission-critical electronics such as those found in military equipment, space probes, and medical devices. The existence of several other cross-conjugated molecules have been proposed but never observed.
The research project would involve the synthesis of the compounds needed to prepare the reactive molecules, the observation of the cross-conjugated molecules using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, and the isolation of the polymer-like products.