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Research Interests


Curriculum Vitae

Research Group Website

Chemistry Department

College of Science and Mathematics

Dr. Kevin Caran  

Dr. Kevin L. Caran
Organic Chemistry
Associate Professor of Chemistry

office: Physics and Chemistry 3174
laboratory: Physics and Chemistry 3274
voice:  540-568-6632
fax:  540-568-7938

mailing address:
MSC 4501
Department of Chemistry
James Madison University
Harrisonburg, VA 22807

Click here for KC's Schedule

Our research group uses organic synthesis to make novel molecules so we can study their supramolecular and colloidal properties. A summary of some of the interests of our research group is below. Be sure to check out our research group website for more information, links, photos, the latest news from our lab.


Research Interests (research group website)

  •  Colloidal and supramolecular organic systems. Synthesis of rationally designed compounds and study of their self-assembly and aggregation using a wide variety of physical organic and spectroscopic methods.
  • Molecular Recognition. Engineering of molecules to recognize molecules with complementary functionalities.
  • Nanoscience Education. Development of laboratory and lecture modules to introduce undergraduate students to nanoscience.


Research Description

 In the Caran lab, we use the tools of organic synthesis to make novel compounds in an effort to develop self-assembled soft materials (colloids) with well-defined properties. We subsequently use a wide variety of tools and analytical methods to measure the properties and to understand the modes of self-assembly of the colloidal aggregates formed by these novel compounds. For example, we have developed a series of organogelators (compounds that form gels in organic solvents) which self assemble via a combination of hydrogen bonding and pi-pi stacking of complementary arenes [in collaboration with Dr. Michal Sabat and Dr. Lin Pu at the University of Virginia]. In another project, we have prepared a number of surfactants with two polar head groups and one non-polar tail which self assemble into micelles in an aqueous environment. These compounds show unique properties when compared to conventional surfactants with one head and one tail. Students in the Caran lab synthesize, purify and analyze the structure of these novel molecules, and subsequently study the self-assembled materials using an arsenal of analytical techniques including nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, powder X-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), optical microscopy, differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), surface tensiometry, conductivity and attenuated total reflectance infrared (ATR-IR) spectroscopy. The results of this and other work have been presented at regional and national meetings across the country from Virginia to Louisiana to California.



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