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Design, Synthesis and Study of Supramolecular Donor – Acceptor Systems Mimicking Natural Photosynthesis Processes

Description: This dissertation investigates the chemical ingenuity into the development of various photoactive supramolecular donor – acceptor systems to produce clean and carbon free energy for the next generation. The process is inspired by the principles learned from nature’s approach where the solar energy is converted into the chemical energy through the natural photosynthesis process. Owing to the importance and complexity of natural photosynthesis process, we have designed ideal donor-acceptor systems to investigate their light energy harvesting properties. This process involves two major steps: the first step is the absorption of light energy by antenna or donor systems to promote them to an excited electronic state. The second step involves, the transfer of excitation energy to the reaction center, which triggers an electron transfer process within the system. Based on this principle, the research is focused into the development of artificial photosynthesis systems to investigate dynamics of photo induced energy and electron transfer events. The derivatives of Porphyrins, Phthalocyanines, BODIPY, and SubPhthalocyanines etc have been widely used as the primary building blocks for designing photoactive and electroactive ensembles in this area because of their excellent and unique photophysical and photochemical properties. Meanwhile, the fullerene, mainly its readily available version C60 is typicaly used as an electron acceptor component because of its unique redox potential, symmetrical shape and low reorganization energy appropriate for improved charge separation behavior. The primary research motivation of the study is to achieve fast charge separation and slow charge recombination of the system by stabilizing the radical ion pairs which are formed from photo excitation, for maximum utility of solar energy. Besides Fullerene C60, this dissertation has also investigated the potential application of carbon nanomaterials (Carbon nanotubes and graphene) as primary building blocks for the study of the artificial photosynthesis process.
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Date: December 2015
Creator: KC, Chandra Bikram
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Mechanisms of Methane C–H Activation and Oxy-insertion Via Small Transition Metal Complexes: a DFT Computational Investigation

Description: Our country continues to demand clean renewable energy to meet the growing energy needs of our time. Thus, natural gas, which is 87% by volume of methane, has become a hot topic of discussion because it is a clean burning fuel. However, the transportation of methane is not easy because it is a gas at standard temperature and pressure. The usage of transition metals for the conversion of small organic species like methane into a liquid has been a longstanding practice in stoichiometric chemistry. Nonetheless, the current two-step process takes place at a high temperature and pressure for the conversion of methane and steam to methanol via CO + H2 (syngas). The direct oxidation of methane (CH4) into methanol (CH3OH) via homogeneous catalysis is of interest if the system can operate at standard pressure and a temperature less than 250 C. Methane is an inert gas due to the high C-H bond dissociation energy (BDE) of 105 kcal/mol. This dissertation discusses a series of computational investigations of oxy-insertion pathways to understand the essential chemistry behind the functionalization of methane via the use of homogeneous transition metal catalysis. The methane to methanol (MTM) catalytic cycle is made up of two key steps: (1) C-H activation by a metal-methoxy complex, (2) the insertion of oxygen into the metal−methyl bond (oxy-insertion). While, the first step (C-H activation) has been well studied, the second step has been less studied. Thus, this dissertation focuses on oxy-insertion via a two-step mechanism, oxygen-atom transfer (OAT) and methyl migration, utilizing transition metal complexes known to activate small organic species (e.g., PtII and PdII complexes). This research seeks to guide experimental investigations, and probe the role that metal charge and coordination number play.
Date: May 2014
Creator: Prince, Bruce M.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Synthesis of Tethering Group on Borylazadipyrromethene Dyes to Apply to Photogalvanic Dye-sensitized Solar Cells

Description: This is my thesis research on the preparation of borylazadipyrromethene (azaBODIPY) dyes bearing an anchoring group, such as a carboxylic acid group, at the β-pyrrolic position of the azadipyrromethene scaffold. Carboxylate groups form covalent bonds to oxide semiconductors such as TiO2 (n-type) or Cu2O (p-type) in dye-sensitized solar cells (DSCs) or photogalvanic dye-sensitized solar cells (P-DSCs). Oxide-binding azaBODIPY dyes can be used to investigate the rate and mechanism of electron injection from the dyes to the semiconductors. Two different types of azaBODIPY (difluoroboryl and dialkynylboryl) were prepared by following previously developed methods. To convert difluoroborylazaBODIPY to the final dyes having a carboxylic acid in the β-pyrrolic position, several distinct synthetic routes were designed, adopting various reactions, such as halogenation, Sonogashira coupling, Knoevenagel condensation, Grignard reagents, Vilsmeir-Haack, and Steglich esterification. Some of these reactions were successful, but the overall synthesis to the targeted final molecule couldn’t be accomplished. Even though further studies on the synthesis of oxide-binding azaBODIPYs are needed, at least my thesis research suggests what reactions can be implemented to complete this synthesis in the future. Proton NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance) and carbon NMR were commonly used to confirm the synthesized compounds, and sometimes crystallographic information was obtained by XRD (X-ray diffraction) whenever crystals of sufficient size and quality were grown. NMR spectra, interpreted by SpinWorks 3 software, and crystal structures will be introduced in each chapter.
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Date: August 2014
Creator: Park, Eunsol
Partner: UNT Libraries

Diimine(dithiolate)platinum(ii) Chromophores: Synthesis, Spectroscopy, and Material Applications

Description: A series of 28 square-planar dithiol(diimine)platinum(II) chromophoric complexes have been synthesized, characterized, and evaluated for potential efficacy in sensitization of solid state photovoltaic devices to the near-infrared regions of the electromagnetic spectrum. The effect of molecular stacking in the solid state and self-association in solution are shown to influence spectral, electronic, and magnetic properties of the chromophores. Such properties are investigated in the pure form and as partners in donor-acceptor charge transfer adducts. Finally, selected chromophores have been incorporated into single layer schottky diodes as neat films and as dopants in multi-layer organic photovoltaic devices. Evaluation of the devices internal quantum efficiency and voltage-current was measured as proof of concept.
Date: August 2014
Creator: Browning, Charles
Partner: UNT Libraries

Self-assembly Polymeric Nanoparticles Composed of Polymers Crosslinked with Transition Metals for Use in Drug Delivery

Description: A major drawback of chemotherapy is the lack of selectively leading to damage in healthy tissue, which results in severe acute side effects to cancer patients. The use of nanoparticles as a drug delivery system has emerged as novel strategy to overcome the barriers of immunogenic response, controlled release of therapeutic, and targeting the toxicity only to cancerous cells. In this study, polymeric nanoparticles composed of transition metals and particles derived from natural biopolymers have been generated via self-assembly. For example, nanoparticles composed of cobalt crosslinked with albumin (Co-alb NPs) via Co-amine coordination chemistry of lysine residue were syntheisized in various sizes. The method to generate Co-alb NPs involves no thermal heat, organic solvent or any surfactants, which is ideal for the production of large amounts in a timely manner. The Co-alb NPs displayed exceptional stability under physiological conditions (pH 7.4) for several days with minor changes in size; however degradation could be triggered by reductant (reduced glutathione (GSH), 10 mM) with complete disappearance of particles in less than 2 hour. Numerous therapeutics that are highly effective toward cancer cells have been developed; however, many cannot be administered to patients due to poor solubility in water and pH dependent properties. We have successfully encapsulated 7-ethyl-10-hydroxycampothecin (SN-38) into Co-alb NPs with encapsulation efficiency as high as 94% and loading capacities greater than 30%. We employed an emulsion-solvent evaporation method to incorporate SN-38 into Co-alb (SN38 Co-Alb NPs). Release of the drug from SN38 Co-Alb NPs was determined for particles incubated in PBS or PBS-GSH. SN38 Co-Alb NPs were exceptionally stable under physiological condition (PBS pH 7.4), but exhibited sustained release of SN-38 over time in the presence of GSH. Uptake and toxicity of the particles were also investigated in a gastric carcinoma cell line (SNU-5) where high degrees of macropinocytic uptake ...
Date: December 2015
Creator: Nguyen, Duong Thuy
Partner: UNT Libraries

Design, Synthesis, and Characterization of Aqueous Polymeric Hybrid Composites and Nanomaterials of Platinum(II) and Gold(I) Phosphorescent Complexes for Sensing and Biomedical Applications

Description: The two major topics studied in this dissertation are the gold(I) pyrazolate trimer {[Au(3-R,5-R’)Pz]3} complexes in aqueous chitosan polymer and phosphorescent polymeric nanoparticles based on platinum(II) based complex. The first topic is the synthesis, characterization and optical sensing application of gold(I) pyrazolate trimer complexes within aqueous chitosan polymer. A gold(I) pyrazolate trimer complex, {[Au(3-CH3,5-COOH)Pz]3}, shows high sensitivity and selectivity for silver ions in aqueous media, is discussed for optical sensing and solution-processed organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs) applications. Gold(I) pyrazolate trimer complexes are bright red emissive in polymeric solution and their emission color changes with respect to heavy metal ions, pH and dissolved carbon dioxide. These photophysical properties are very useful for designing the optical sensors. The phosphorescent polymeric nanoparticles are prepared with Pt-POP complex and polyacrylonitrile polymer. These particles show excellent photophysical properties and stable up to >3 years at room temperature. Such nanomaterials have potential applications in biomedical and polymeric OLEDs. The phosphorescent hybrid composites are also prepared with Pt-POP and biocompatible polymers, such as chitosan, poly-l-lysine, BSA, pnipam, and pdadmac. Photoluminescent enhancement of Pt-POP with such polymers is also involved in this study. These hybrid composites are promising materials for biomedical applications such as protein labeling and bioimaging.
Date: December 2015
Creator: Upadhyay, Prabhat Kumar
Partner: UNT Libraries

Biological Applications of a Strongly Luminescent Platinum (II) Complex in Reactive Oxygen Species Scavenging and Hypoxia Imaging in Caenorhabditis elegans

Description: Phosphorescent transition metal complexes make up an important group of compounds that continues to attract intense research owing to their intrinsic bioimaging applications that arise from bright emissions, relatively long excited state lifetimes, and large stokes shifts. Now for biomaging assay a model organism is required which must meet certain criteria for practical applications. The organism needs to be small, with a high turn-over of progeny (high fecundity), a short lifecycle, and low maintenance and assay costs. Our model organism C. elegans met all the criteria. The ideal phosphor has low toxicity in the model organism. In this work the strongly phosphorescent platinum (II) pyrophosphito-complex was tested for biological applications as a potential in vivo hypoxia sensor. The suitability of the phosphor was derived from its water solubility, bright phosphorescence at room temperature, and long excited state lifetime (~ 10 µs). The applications branched off to include testing of C. elegans survival when treated with the phosphor, which included lifespan and fecundity assays, toxicity assays including the determination of the LC50, and recovery after paraquat poisoning. Quenching experiments were performed using some well knows oxygen derivatives, and the quenching mechanisms were derived from Stern-Volmer plots. Reaction stoichiometries were derived from Job plots, while percent scavenging (or antioxidant) activities were determined graphically. The high photochemical reactivity of the complex was clearly manifested in these reactions.
Date: December 2015
Creator: Kinyanjui, Sophia Nduta
Partner: UNT Libraries

Targeted and Metal-loaded Polymeric Nanoparticles As Potential Cancer Therapeutics

Description: Polymeric nanoparticles were designed, synthesized, and loaded with metal ions to explore the therapeutic potential for transition metals other than platinum found in cisplatin. Nanoparticles were synthesized to show the potential for polymer based vectors. Metal loading and release were characterized via Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (ICP MS), Energy Dispersive X-Ray Spectroscopy (EDX), X-Ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS), and Elemental Analysis. Targeting was attempted with the expectation of observed increased particle uptake by cancer cells with flow cytometry and fluorescence microscopy. Results demonstrated that a variety of metals could be loaded to the nano-sized carriers in an aqueous environment, and that the release was pH-dependent. Expected increased targeting was inconsistent. The toxicity of these particles was measured in cancer cells where significant toxicity was observed in vitro via dosing of high copper-loaded nanoparticles and slight toxicity was observed in ruthenium-loaded nanoparticles. No significant toxicity was observed in cells dosed with metal-free nanoparticles. Future research will focus on ruthenium loaded polymeric nanoparticles with different targeting ligands dosed to different cell lines for the aim of increased uptake and decreased cancer cell viability.
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Date: May 2014
Creator: Harris, Alesha N.
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Effect of Plasma on Silicon Nitride, Oxynitride and Other Metals for Enhanced Epoxy Adhesion for Packaging Applications

Description: The effects of direct plasma chemistries on carbon removal from silicon nitride (SiNx) and oxynitride (SiOxNy ) surfaces and Cu have been studied by x-photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and ex-situ contact angle measurements. The data indicate that O2,NH3 and He capacitively coupled plasmas are effective at removing adventitious carbon from silicon nitride (SiNx) and Silicon oxynitride (SiOxNy ) surfaces. O2plasma and He plasma treatment results in the formation of silica overlayer. In contrast, the exposure to NH3 plasma results in negligible additional oxidation of the SiNx and SiOxNy surface. Ex-situ contact angle measurements show that SiNx and SiOxNy surfaces when exposed to oxygen plasma are initially more hydrophilic than surfaces exposed to NH3 plasma and He plasma, indicating that the O2 plasma-induced SiO2 overlayer is highly reactive towards ambient corresponding to increased roughness measured by AFM. At longer ambient exposures (>~10 hours), however surfaces treated by either O2, He or NH3 plasma exhibit similar steady state contact angles, correlated with rapid uptake of adventitious carbon, as determined by XPS. Surface passivation by exposure to molecular hydrogen prior to ambient exposure significantly retards the increase in the contact angle upon the exposure to ambient. The results suggest a practical route to enhancing the time available for effective bonding to surfaces in microelectronics packaging applications.
Date: August 2014
Creator: Gaddam, Sneha Sen
Partner: UNT Libraries

Synthesis of Novel Organic Chromophores and Their Characterization

Description: Nonlinear organic liquids that exhibit two-photon absorption (TPA) function as good optical limiters for sensor protection from laser pulses. L34 (4-butyl-4'-propyl-diphenylethyne) is a liquid organic compound exhibiting nonlinear optical absorption. A thiol- derivatized analog of L34 (“thiol-L34”) was prepared to bind the molecules to the surface of gold nanoparticles. Surface binding is necessary to investigate synergy between nonlinear optical absorption of gold nanoparticles and thiol-L34. Thiol-L34 was prepared in a six-step organic synthesis starting from 3-(4-bromophenyl) propionic acid. Au nanoparticles with <15 nm diameter have been prepared and sensitized with the thiol-L34 compound for assessment of their nonlinear optical behavior. Diazolylmethenes a class of metal-coordinating dyes that are similar to dipyrrins with some substitutions of nitrogen atoms in place of carbon atoms. Modification in the framework of dipyrrinoid dyes via this replacement of nitrogen for carbon atoms may lead to compounds that serve as effective agents for bioimaging and/or photodynamic therapy. Several routes to the synthesis of di-(1,2,3)-triazolylmethenes, di-(1,2,4)-triazolylmethenes, and ditetrazolylmethenes are presented.
Date: December 2014
Creator: Pokharel, Sundari D.
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Mechanisms of Human Glutathione Synthetase and Related Non-Enyzmatic Catalysis

Description: Human glutathione synthetase (hGS) is a homodimeric enzymes that catalyzes the second step in the biological synthesis of glutathione, a critical cellular antioxidant. The enzyme exhibits negative cooperativity towards the γ-glutamylcysteine (γ-GC) substrate. In this type of allosteric regulation, the binding of γ-GC at one active site significantly reduces substrate affinity at a second active site over 40 Å away. The presented work explores protein-protein interactions, substrate binding, and allosteric communication through investigation of three regions of hGS: the dimer interface, the S-loop, and the E-loop. Strong electrostatic interactions across the dimer interface of hGS maintain the appropriate tertiary and quaternary enzymatic structure needed for activity. The S-loop and E-loop of hGS form walls of the active site near γ-GC, with some residues serving to bind and position the negatively cooperative substrate. These strong interactions in the active site serve as a trigger for allosteric communication, which then passes through hydrophobic interactions at the interface. A comprehensive computational and experimental approach relates hGS structure with activity and regulation. ATP-grasp enzymes, including hGS, utilize ATP in the nucleophilic attack of a carboxylic acid in a reaction thought to proceed through the formation of an acylphosphate intermediate. Small metal cations are known to chelate the terminal phosphates of actives site ATP, yet the role of these atoms remains unclear. In the presented work, a computational metal substitution study establishes the role these divalent cations in the catalysis of peptide bonds. The simple model is used to determine the impact of metal cations on the thermodynamics and kinetics, an important stepping stone in understanding the importance of metal cations in larger biological systems.
Date: May 2015
Creator: Ingle, Brandall L.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Computational Studies of C–H/C–C Manipulation Utilizing Transition Metal Complexes

Description: Density Functional Theory (DFT) is an effective tool for studying diverse metal systems. Presented herein are studies of a variety of metal systems, which can be applied to accomplish transformations that are currently difficult/impossible to achieve. The specific topics studied utilizing DFT include: 1) C–H bond activation via an Earth-abundant transition metal complex, 2) C–H bond deprotonation via an alkali metal superbase, 3) and amination/aziridination reactions utilizing a CuI reagent. Using DFT, the transformation to methanol (CH3OH) from methane (CH4) was examined. The transition metal systems studied for this transformation included a model FeII complex. This first-row transition metal is an economical, Earth-abundant metal. The ligand set for this transformation includes a carbonyl ligand in one set of complexes as well as a phosphite ligand in another. The 3d Fe metal shows the ability to convert alkyls/aryls to their oxidized counterpart in an energetically favorable manner. Also, “superbasic” alkali metal amides were investigated to perform C—H bond cleavage. Toluene was the substrate of interest with Cs chosen to be the metal of interest because of the highly electropositive nature of this alkali metal. These highly electrophilic Cs metal systems allow for very favorable C—H bond scission with a toluene substrate. Finally, the amination and aziridination of C–H and C=C bonds, respectively, by a CuI reagent was studied. The mechanism was investigated using DFT calculations. Presently, these mechanisms involving the use of coinage metals are debated. Our DFT simulations shed some insight into how these transformations occur and ultimately how they can be manipulated.
Date: May 2015
Creator: Pardue, Daniel B.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Synthesis of Peropyrene and Tetracene Derivatives for Photochemical Applications

Description: A novel route for the synthesis of the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon peropyrene (Pp) is reported along with the efforts to synthesize derivatives of Pp, 2,2′- and 5,5′-linked tetracene dimers as candidates for study as singlet fission materials in photovoltaic devices. Peropyrene was synthesized by the McMurry coupling conditions from phenalenone and low-valent titanium species. The crystal structure of Pp is formed by π-stacked molecular pairs in a herringbone arrangement. The direct functionalization of Pp was studied, and several indirect methods for the functionalization of Pp via phenalenone derivatives are reported. Nucleophilicly dependent, regioselective Michael addition pathways for phenalenone are described. Phenalenone forms a nucleophilic complex with bispinacolatodiboron and yields chiral 3,3′-linked phenalenone dimers and a bicyclo[3.2.1]octane derivative product of an unusual 3,4 addition. An active complex product of phenalenone and (dimethylphenylsilyl)boronic acid pinacolic ester forms Pp directly. The synthesis of 2,2′- and 5,5′-linked tetracene dimers led to the study of the reduction of 1-arylprop-2-yn-1-ol derivatives via TFA-catalyzed hydride transfer from triethylsilane. Substrates with terminal and TMS-protected alkynes showed silane exchange upon reduction. A TMS-protected, terminal alkyne became triethylsilyl-protected by about 50% whereas only triethylsilyl-protected, terminal alkyne was observed from the reduction of an unprotected, terminal alkyne. A new conformational polymorph of 1,4-bis(triisopropylsilyl)buta-1,3-diyne is reported. Five other rotamers are studied by density functional theory as possible candidates of conformational polymorphism by the analysis of torsional strain energies. The relative stabilities and interconversion equilibria of the seven conformational isomers are studied.
Date: May 2015
Creator: Rodríguez López, Marco Tulio
Partner: UNT Libraries

Pathways for C—H Activation and Functionalization by Group 9 Metals

Description: As fossil fuel resources become more and more scarce, attention has been turned to alternative sources of fuels and energy. One promising prospect is the conversion of methane (natural gas) to methanol, which requires an initial activation of a C-H bond and subsequent formation of a C-O bond. The most well studied methodologies for both C-H activation and C-O bond formation involve oxidation of the metal center. Metal complexes with facile access to oxidation states separated by four charge units, required for two subsequent oxidations, are rare. Non-oxidative methods to perform C-H bond activation or C-O bond formation must be pursued in order for methane to methanol to become a viable strategy. In this dissertation studies on redox and non-redox methods for both C-H activation and C-O bond formation are discussed. In the early chapters C-O bond formation in the form of reductive functionalization is modeled. Polypyridine ligated rhodium complexes were studied computationally to determine the properties that would promote reductive functionalization. These principles were then tested by designing an experimental complex that could form C-O bonds. This complex was then shown to also work in acidic media, a critical aspect for product stabilization. In the later chapters, non-oxidative C-H activation is discussed with Ir complexes. Both sigma bond metathesis and concerted metalation deprotonation were investigated. For the former, the mechanism for an experimentally known complex was elucidated and for the latter the controlling factors for a proposed catalyst were explored.
Date: May 2015
Creator: Pahls, Dale R.
Partner: UNT Libraries