A Benign Novel Approach towards the Synthesis of Copper (I) Cyanide Coordination Polymers
Marissa De Fratti Interviewed by Liz Thornton
Q. How would you describe your project?
A. So, my project is to synthesize coordination polymers of copper. Coordination polymers they’re being studied because of their wide applications. We’re trying to make known and unknown coordination polymers and determine their crystal structures with x-ray crystallography. The usual methods require high temperatures and high pressure over long periods of time to obtain coordination polymers. We’re trying to use a more economical and environmentally friendly method.
Q. Why is your research important?
A. My research is important because coordination’s polymers are used in so many fields. They’re used for gas filtration with carbon dioxide, they’re used in luminescent like LED lights, and other things. So it makes the process of making the polymers for these products less costly and more environmentally friendly.
Q. What do you hope to accomplish?
A. We want to make unknown coordination polymers of copper, identify their crystal structures, and determine the final products in the process.
Q. How do you actually do this?
A. I synthesize different copper complexes with different ligands. So, to do that we start with our amino acid which is alanine and we add sodium hydroxide to deprotonate it, and dissolve it in methanol at room temperature. Then we take either copper (I) chloride or copper (I) bromide and dissolve it in methanol. The deprotonated amino acid is slowly added to the copper (I) solution. From that our products area copper complex and either sodium chloride or sodium bromide depending on which one we use. We filter out most of the salts. Then we take our ligand and dissolve it in methanol then slowly add it to the copper solution. From that we get our copper complexes.
Now we take our copper complexes and add 10 equivalents of azobisisobutyonitrile (AIBN), which is our reducing agent, and 2 equivalents of ascorbic acid for less reducing of copper complexes. Then we let them sit in an oil bath of 60-80˚C for 48hrs. Afterwards we will either get a crystal which is what we want or a powder which means that the reaction crashed. If it’s a crystal we identify the structure with x-ray crystallography and if it’s a powder we look at it with ultra violet/visible light spectroscopy.
Q. Has you project been successful so far?
A. Many of our coordination polymers have been crashing out or yielding bad crystals that are not orderly and periodic in their arrangement. We want the crystals to have very pristine structures, because that makes them easy to identify. Now we are experimenting with different methods that look promising.