Date of Graduation

5-2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Degree Level

Undergraduate

Department

Chemistry & Biochemistry

Advisor

Zheng, Nan

Reader

Allison, Neil

Second Reader

Hagstrom, Fran

Third Reader

Mixdorf, Cory

Abstract

By converting natural light energy into chemical energy, chemists are studying ways to take advantage of clean energy. The rising precedence of “green chemistry” has led to academic interest in the activity of photocatalysts and harnessing visible light in an efficient, accessible, and safe manner. Photochemistry is an upcoming and fascinating field of study that has made significant progress, but also has great potential for future work. By utilizing light as a natural energy source, many reaction processes in chemistry can be viewed with a new perspective. Ru(bpy)32+ is one of the most widely used photocatalysts. An efficient charge separation in its photoexcited state is critical for successful electron transfer between the photoexcited ruthenium complex and the substrate. However, the charge separation only has a lifetime of 200 nanoseconds. In order to prolong the lifetime of Ru(bpy)32+, I will be experimenting with a ligand alteration of the ruthenium complex. The approach is to attach a Quinone to one of the bipyridine ligands. The Quinone group functions as an electron acceptor to oxidize the photoexcited bipyridine ligand, and therefore create a different type of relay that can prolong the charge separation’s lifetime. Overall, the appendage of the unique Quinone ligand to one of the bipyridine ligands may be able to significantly increase the lifetime and catalytic efficiency of Ru(bpy)32+.

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