Lawrence J. Hill
Department of Chemistry
Ogden College of Science and Engineering
Western Kentucky University
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WKU Chemistry
Research Projects
Synthesis of stimuli-responsive polymers.

We are interested in the synthesis of organic polymers that incorporate redox active functionalities using free radical and controlled radical polymerization methods. We are currently investigating polymethacrylates incorporating a novel initiator that will trigger polymer degradation in the presence of hydrogen peroxide.1 We aim to polymerize this degradable initiator with differing feed ratios of antioxidant monomers to create materials with tunable degradation profiles under biologically-relevant oxidizing conditions. These types of materials could be used in drug delivery to release medicine preferentially in oxygen-rich areas of the body.

1) de Gracia Lux, C.; Joshi-Barr, S.; Nguyen, T.; Mahmoud, E.; Schopf, E.; Fomina, N.; Almutairi, A. Biocompatible Polymeric Nanoparticles Degrade and Release Cargo in Response to Biologically Relevant Levels of Hydrogen Peroxide. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2012, 134, 15758-15764.
Synthesis of nanoparticles with modified surface chemistry.

We are interested in using novel synthetic approaches to facilitate use of modern nanoparticle technologies in devices.​1 Nanoparticle systems of varying size, shape, and functionality have been synthesized using a variety of shape-controlling ligand systems. However, incorporation of these materials into devices, or even connecting to electrodes for experimental studies, remains a significant challenge due to the insulating nature of the ligands used during nanoparticle synthesis. We are investigating synthetic routes using ionic liquids to replace tightly binding, electronically insulating organic ligands in the synthesis of technologically relevant catalysts. These catalysts include cadmium chalcogenide semiconductor particles for solar hydrogen generation and Pt/Co alloyed particles with sharp features for conversion of CO2 into useful materials.

1) Kim, J. Y.; Kotov, N. A. Charge transport dilemma of solution-processed nanomaterials. Chem. Mater. 2014, 26, 134-152.