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
sure to check out our research group
website for more information, links, photos, the latest news
from our lab.
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.
molecules to recognize molecules with complementary functionalities.
Development of laboratory and lecture modules to introduce
undergraduate students to nanoscience.
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.