Led by Simon Blakey
C–H functionalization has the potential to positively impact a broad range of materials science applications by improving the sustainability of material synthesis and by enabling the synthesis of new structures that have been prohibitively difficult to synthesize previously.
In particular, conjugated organic materials are used in organic electronics (specifically organic light emitting diodes, sensors, transistors and photovoltaic materials). They are also critically important in liquid-crystal display materials, as well as both second- and third-order nonlinear optical materials.
Traditional approaches to these materials routinely require several synthetic steps. Often halogenation and exchange of the halogen for another functionality on one of the reactants are required prior to C–C coupling. Other steps such as oxidation/reduction may also be involved. Circumventing these functional group manipulations by developing direct C–H functionalization protocols for regiospecific C–C bond formation would significantly impact both the cost and waste generation associated with materials synthesis, while the avoidance of stoichiometric toxic heavy-metal reagents (such as organotin derivatives) would also help in the sustainability of materials synthesis.
Other materials problems that could benefit from directed carbon–carbon bond formation through C–H functionalization, are in the areas of structural materials (specifically rigid polymers), and also surface modification of materials to change their wetting properties and to allow other materials to be covalently bonded to surfaces.