Overview of Research Programs:
Advanced Functional π-Conjugated Materials for Organic Electronics and Photonics:
This broad program involves design and syntheses of novel series of π-conjugated molecular materials; investigations of various technologically useful functional properties including luminescence properties, multiphoton absoprtion properties, photovoltaic effects, carrier mobility, lasing properties and recognition/sensing properties; as well as fabrication and characterization of devices i.e. solar cell and OFETs using newly developed materials.
As knowledge of structure-functional property relationships is essential towards the rational design and optimization of functional materials, we have adopted a more systematic approach to explore and probe the structural factors that can enhance the functional properties of various novel π-conjugated systems. The chain length effect, the heteroatom effect, and the influence of the substituents on various molecular and morphological properties of a material are areas of our interests. Knowledge of the structure-property correlations of π-conjugated oligomers and molecular assemblies is not only important to fundamental sciences but also useful for the rational design and synthesis of useful and efficient molecular materials for practical applications.
The ultimate performance of a functional material relies greatly on the molecular/chain arrangement and morphology of the material. An investigation of monodisperse, well-defined multi-molecular assemblies would provide insight into the effect of through-space interactions of molecules. The intramolecular interaction and corporation effect of the proximate molecules may give rises to novel or enhanced functional and structural/ morphological properties of materials. As part of board materials program, we have also explored and synthesized novel multi-molecular assemblies for an investigation of the influence of the intramolecular interaction on various functional and macroscopic properties of materials. To better understand the nature of this/these interaction/properties, quantum mechanical calculations will also be used.
From Supramolecular Recognition to Biological and Biomedical Applications:
This research direction involves design, synthesis and characterization of novel multifunctional molecules or assemblies that can detect, recognize or sense a biologically important molecule/substance/event through supramolecular recognition in which the high specificity and strong binding affinity of the guest-host concept is imposed. Our aspiration comes from the aim that functions and processes of the living biological systems can ultimately be mimicked.
Being able to predict and control the supramolecular architecture or assembly is essential to optimizing various functional properties such as sensing, molecular transport, catalysts, information storage, and templates or cavities for chemical transformations. Design of complementary structural components that can self-assemble into supramolecular nano-structures or can show recognition properties requires building in a relatively strong adhesive forces such as hydrogen bonding, the ionic interactions and/or pi-pi stacking interactions. We are particularly interested in exploring various bio-related functions and properties that arise from recognition and self-assembly of the supramolecular nano-structures or aggregates.