Dr. Sundeep Rayat
<b>Department: </b>Chemistry<br><b>Research Area: </b>Organic Chemistry/Physical organic chemistry/Bioorganic Chemistry
Research Focus: Organic Chemistry/Physical organic chemistry/Bioorganic Chemistry
Potential Student Project(s):
1. Designing porous structures for medicine, environment and industry
Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) are porous structures consisting of a metal ion or cluster of metal ions linked to organic molecules (ligands) through coordination bonds. These materials are able to trap small molecules in their pores and thus, have applications in a variety of fields including drug delivery, gas storage and separation, environmental remediation, catalysis, sensing, semiconductors, magnetism and pyrotechnics. Our lab studies how small adjustments in the structure of the ligands influences their binding to the metal ions and subsequently, affects the stability and porosity of MOFs. The undergraduate researcher working on this project will design unique (tetrazole-based) organic ligands of different size, length, electronic nature (binding ability) and denticity (binding sites) and investigate their interaction with transition metal ions through a variety of techniques. In addition, they will grow single crystals of the metal-ligand complexes for X-ray analyses which will provide insights into their overall three-dimensional structure and pore size. Thus, the student will make important contributions in elucidating the association of the ligand structure with the porosity of MOFs.
2. Evaluating the scope of tetrazole-based push-pull compounds as sensors
Fluorescent compounds emit light upon interaction with electromagnetic radiation. These are highly sought for sensing applications in medicine, environmental monitoring, and food safety. Fluorescence based sensors are also extremely useful in forensic chemistry for the detection of heavy metals in samples from living people, autopsies, food, water and soil, as well as for the visualization of bodily fluids at crime scenes. These offer high sensitivity and selectivity toward the target molecule/species. In our lab, we have developed small organic molecules – particularly, tetrazole-based push pull molecules that are fluorescent. In this project, the undergraduate student will (i) investigate the fluorescence properties of the tetrazole-based push pull molecules in different solvents and (ii) study their interaction with a variety of metal ions (such as copper (II), cadmium (II), zinc (II), cobalt (II), manganese (II), nickel (II)) and calf thymus DNA using UV-Vis and fluorescence spectroscopy to probe if push-pull tetrazoles can be used for sensing metal ions and DNA. The student will gain a basic understanding of the photophysical processes that happen in a molecule upon interaction with electromagnetic radiation and learn common laboratory techniques such as recrystallization, preparing solutions of known concentrations, operating UV-Vis and fluorescence spectrophotometers. Students will also get an exposure to organic synthesis and learn how to design new fluorescent molecules.
Attributes/skills/background sought in undergraduate:
Academics: General Chemistry 1 and 2 (currently enrolled or completed)
Attributes: Curious, creative, confident, enthusiastic, patient, responsible, and a team-player.
Mentoring Plan: Before beginning research, the student will receive training in chemical safety and fire hazard. The student will spend at least 5h/week on the project. This would include a one hour meeting with me each week to discuss research progress, results and future plans. I will also work side-by-side with the student in the laboratory to provide training on various laboratory techniques. This would continue until they gain confidence to work independently. I will teach them how to set-up experiments, collect and analyze data. They will also learn how to keep a proper laboratory notebook. I will help instill better time-management, organizational and teamwork skills in my student, which will be valuable in many aspects of their academic career and beyond. They will also learn how to read and analyze research articles and, communicate that knowledge to others in meetings. I will encourage and prepare the student to present their research in conferences, which will help them refine their scientific communication skills. Furthermore, I will periodically talk to my student about their career plans and aspirations, and provide them timely advice/guidance to ensure that they succeed.
Contact: 765-285-8308, FB 502