Development of new materials is an important key topic in chemistry and cutting edge research is devoted to discover, improve and apply them in future technologies. Currently special focus is placed on carbon-based materials, with diamond being a highly attractive scaffold. Despite its numerous excellent properties, diamond is still difficult to control in terms of selective functionalization and material uniformity. An alternative to bulk diamond are diamondoids, organic cage compounds that have a diamond-like structure but can be selectively substituted, thereby bridging the gap between flexible organic molecules and bulk diamond.
Chemistry of diamondoids saw a breakthrough in the last two decades but there are still opportunities for further development. Our goal is to prepare and characterize unexplored diamondoid derivatives and apply them in materials design. Target compounds will be diamondoid scaffolds selectively functionalized with heteroatoms bound on the cage itself as well as derivatives with spacers, including ethers, thioethers, amines (secondary and higher), esters, etc. To achieve this, we will go beyond the state-of-the-art and develop new strategies for their selective functionalization and polyfunctionalization, since precise diamondoid substitution enables properties control. The next step will be tailoring of properties by introduction of secondary motifs/functionalities on the prepared diamondoid scaffolds, with a goal to pave the way for future application in coatings and advanced surfaces. Experimental studies will be complemented by computational methods to gain more insight into the physico-chemical nature of both the molecules and the materials they will form. The proposed research will therefore deepen the fundamental knowledge of structure-properties relationship in the design of new candidates for advanced materials, with a focus on highly promising carbon-based organic scaffolds.
dr. sc. Marija Alešković
dr. sc. Margareta Sohora
Nataša Burić, dipl. ing.