As technology continues to shrink to the molecular scale, chemists are in a unique position to contribute. In the Jasti Research Group, challenging problems in nanoscience and materials science are addressed by state-of-the-art organic synthesis. Our goal is to synthesize unique nanostructures with atomistic level control. We often choose targets that are of great interest to the theoretical and physics community that to date have no synthetic solution. In this way, we utilize organic synthesis to probe principles in physics and theory. Our ultimate goal is to utilize this knowledge to generate new nanotechnologies. The interdisciplinary nature of the research group is highlighted in the figure below.
One of the group’s central focuses currently is in the research of carbon nanotubes (CNTs). CNTs are fascinating materials that could lead to faster electronics, better sensors for detection of disease, and more efficient energy generation and storage. Unfortunately, CNTs produced by today’s methods lead to a wide range of stuctures with differing properties (see below). Heterogeneous mixtures of structures are insufficient for advanced applications. One of the current goals of the Jasti Research Group is to synthesize short segments of a wide variety of CNTs. Once synthesized, these short segments could then in turn template the homogeneous synthesis of CNTs with a predetermined chirality. By preparing these CNT structures with atomistic precision, we will be able to study these nanostructures in a completely unprecedented manner.
Our general approach is not limited to carbon nanotubes. We are also interested in preparing graphene structures, diamondoids, porous 3D nanostructures, new supramolecular host/guest systems, as well as polymers with unique structural elements. We draw on inspiration from not only what currently exists, but also what theorists have predicted as interesting materials. The area of nanoscience and materials science provides an unlimited number of fascinating synthetic targets. Our imagination is truly the only limiting reagent!