Mark D. Watson
Assistant Professor of Chemistry (Organic and Materials Chemistry)
Partially Fluorinated Organic Materials
The current main focus of the Watson group is the construction of a library of organic materials which show promise as semiconductors and light-emitting materials for consumer electronics. Our particular "flavor" of materials are ones which carry defined amounts of fluorine. This has been shown to positively affect the performance of materials in electronic devices like transistors. As we learn more about the chemistry of these materials, we are developing new ways to prepare them. These methods are often more environmentally friendly than standard procedures, and can provide the materials in higher purity, which is crucial for device applications. Given the broad interest in fluorinated aromatics in such diverse areas as ligands for catalysts, high-performance polymeric materials, and pharmaceuticals, development of these methods should assist advances across many scientific fields.
An REU student may choose from one or more of several projects aimed at the organic synthesis of small molecules (including liquid crystals) or polymers. This student will gain broad training and experience with advanced techniques for organic synthesis and characterization. Depending on particular preferences and motivations, the student may also learn more specialized techniques such as differential scanning calorimetry, polarized optical microscopy, and gel-permeation chromatography (for polymer molecular weight determination).