CFS Laboratory

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If you would like more information about research in the Gross Research Group email Dr. Gross at

Past Members

Graduate Students

Undergraduate Students



The overarching goal of our research is to develop new molecular architectures for organic materials. Due to their high availability and ease of processibility, organic materials are being incorporated into flexible electronic devices on large scale and at low cost. These devices include but are not limited to sensors, OLEDs, OFETs, and OPVs. There are common problems related to each of these, such as performance and lifetime.

Our research will address these shortcomings by improving molecular and supramolecular design. Material interface and carrier mobility are two specific examples. These involve phase separation and charge conductance, respectively, which suffer when a material is randomly ordered and there is a lack of structural control on the nanoscale level. To address this lack of organization we will create shape persistent two or 3D frameworks. The properties of these networks are highly dependent on molecular order, which in organic materials can be tuned on the molecular level to achieve macroscopic efficiency. To accomplish this we will design and synthesize large precisely nanostructured materials from the bottom up. Discrete shape persistent building blocks are of interest because they possess several advantages compared to their polymeric counterparts. Despite many advances in synthetic methods and preparations of novel organic materials, we have yet to reach the limits of this so called bottom up approach, and a greater understanding and development of larger building materials will extend the limitations of current methods.

Project 1. Dynamic covalent macrocycles

Using dynamic covalent reactions it is possible to prepare large and structurally complex molecules from relatively simple small-molecule precursors in a single synthetic transformation. We will exploit the potential of this method to allow for systematic development of diverse molecular systems in relatively few steps. Studying the effect of systematic variations will permit for a fundamental understanding of the molecular control of structure and how it relates to the materials’ physiochemical properties. These structure property relationships, which lie at the heart of chemistry, can then be optimized by further modifications of the molecular subunits.

Project 2. Triazine frameworks

Triazines have gained attention recently as scaffolds for materials and various applications. An attractive feature of triazines is that they can be synthesized at room temperature via lewis acid catalyzed cyclotrimerization in high yield. We intend to explore the potential of appropriate difunctional nitriles to cyclize into novel macrocycles and cage compounds. These systems have the potential to be dynamic in nature and we will also explore that capability. 



ACS-PRF - $55,000 - 05/2016-08/2018



Here is a link to Dr. Gross's Publications.