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Serendipity in the Quest for New Organic Materials – Sigma-Aldrich Lecture at Georgia Tech


Prof. Fred Wudl discusses his group’s discovery of a crystal-to-crystal, essentially quantitative, monomer to polymer transformation on their way to the design of a new molecule for possible ambipolar organic field-effect transistors. The crystalline polymer had the interesting property of full exfoliation, making it possible to isolate and observe a single polymer molecule.

The group further discovered preparation and X-ray crystallographic characterization of the first crystalline homoatomic polymer chain as part of a semiconducting pyrroloperylene-iodine complex. The crystal structure contained infinite polyiodide I∞δ-­ and close similarities in the low‐wavenumber Raman spectra of the title compound and starch-iodine complex suggested such infinite chains of polyiodide in the latter as well.

The structure of iodine within the insoluble, blue starch-iodine complex has remained elusive since the phenomenon was first observed over two centuries ago, and has since generated much speculation as to how iodine arranges within this complex. This includes suggestions of infinite polymeric iodine chains stabilized by amylose sugars.

Areas Covered in the Webinar

  • Design and synthesis of new organic semiconducting materials
  • Optical and electro optical properties of conjugated polymers

Who Should Watch?

Researchers and engineers interested in:

  • Synthesis of organic semiconductors
  • Characterization of organic semiconducting materials
  • Fabrication and characterization of organic electronic devices

Prof. Wudl received his B.S. (1964) and Ph.D. (1967) degree from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) where his dissertation work was done with Professor Donald J. Cram. After postdoctoral research with R.B. Woodward at Harvard, he joined the faculty of the State University of New York at Buffalo. He then moved, first in 1972 to AT&T Bell Laboratories, and subsequently to UCSB in 1982 and then UCLA from 1997 to 2006. He is widely known for his work on organic conductors and super-conductors with the discovery of the electronic conductivity of the precursor to the first organic metal and superconductor. His interest in electronically conducting polymers resulted in discovery of the first transparent organic conductor and the first self-doped polymers. Currently he is interested in the optical and electrooptical properties of processable conjugated polymers as well as in the organic chemistry of fullerenes and the design and preparation of self-mending and self-healing materials. He has received numerous awards and honors and has published over 500 papers.