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Mathematics and Natural Sciences

Oxidative Allylic C-­H Functionalization via Rhodium (III) π-­allyl Complexes

Simon B. Blakey, PhD
Department of Chemistry
The efficient synthesis of new chemical entities remains crucial to the development of the next generation of medicines. This proposal describes the development of a new catalysis platform that will significantly streamline the synthesis of complex drug like molecules from readily available simple materials. The new chemistry that will be developed during this study is anticipated to both open new chemical space, allowing access to novel drug like molecules, as well as improve the synthesis of existing chemical motifs, substantially lowering manufacturing costs.


From Structure to Dynamics: Tuning the Vibrational Modes of Disordered Systems

Justin C. Burton, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Physics
Introductory science classes often teach the physics of waves using a vibrating string or musical instrument, or perhaps using the oscillations of a stretched “slinky”. In nature, propagating waves often traverse more complicated environments, such as light scattering from dense snow layers, or ocean waves being guided by the underlying topography of the sea floor. How these waves interact with disordered or complex media is a broad subject spanning many scientific disciplines. This research proposal focuses on the origin of low frequency acoustic waves in amorphous solids. These vibrations define how materials such as glasses, sand, and other ensembles of random media transmit sound waves and deform under external stress. However, imaging molecular motion in bulk materials is extremely challenging and often limited to single molecules. Thus, we propose to use microscale networks of solid beams to experimentally model the dynamics of a disordered solid. The networks will be fabricated using standard photolithography, and directly imaged using optical microscopy. An important feature of this system is the ability to exert precise control over the network structure, and relate the connectivity and network motifs directly to the dynamics. In addition, this work has strong overlaps in applied fields, and will provide innovative solutions for designing acoustic waveguides, passive filters, and nonlinear mixing platforms. We expect preliminary results from the proposed research to directly lead to competitive funding through national organizations such as the National Science Foundation, the Office of Naval Research, and the Army Research Laboratory.