Theses Doctoral

Perylene Diimide: A Versatile Building Block for Complex Molecular Architectures and a Stable Charge Storage Material

Milton, Margarita

Properties such as chemical robustness, potential for synthetic tunability, and superior electron-accepting character describe the chromophore perylene-3,4,9,10-tetracarboxylic diimide (PDI) and have enabled its penetration into organic photovoltaics. The ability to extend what is already a large aromatic core allows for synthesis of graphene ribbon PDI oligomers. Functionalization with polar and ionic groups leads to liquid crystalline phases or immense supramolecular architectures. Significantly, PDI dianions can survive in water for two months with no decomposition, an important property for charge storage materials.
We realized the potential of PDI as an efficient negative-side material for Redox Flow Batteries (RFBs). The synthetic tunability of PDI allowed for screening of several derivatives with side chains that enhanced solubility in polar solvents. The optimized molecule, PDI[TFSI]2, dissolved in acetonitrile up to 0.5 M. For the positive-side, we synthesized the ferrocene oil [Fc4] in high yield. The large hydrodynamic radii of PDI[TFSI]2 and [Fc4] preclude their ability to cross a size exclusion membrane, which is a cheap alternative to the typical RFB membranes. We show that this cellulose-based membrane can support high voltages in excess of 3 V and extreme temperatures (−20 to 110 °C). We assembled a cell with 0.4 M electron concentration with negligible capacity loss for over 450 cycles (>74 days). Such concentration and stability are among the highest values reported in redox flow batteries with organic electrolytes.
Oxidative photocyclizations of PDI onto acenes administer regiochemistry that favors helical products, albeit with a small number of overlapping π-bonded atoms. We achieved an oxidative photocyclization of PDI onto phenanthrene to form the [7]helicenes PPDHa and PPDHb with 20 overlapping π-bonded atoms, as well as a partially planar molecule 5HPP. Higher temperature increases the ratio of PPDHa:5HPP. Calculations reveal that these molecules contain ~20 kcal/mol more strain than planar analogs, and single crystals show bending of the PDI units from their favored planarity. The PPDH molecules display a new electronic transition in their UV-Vis spectra that sets them apart from monomer PDI and other PDI helicenes. Spectroelectrochemical measurements confirm that PPDHb accepts four electrons. Compared to a naphthyl-fused PDI helicene with only 10 overlapping π-bonded atoms, the PPDH molecules have a heightened ability to delocalize the first added electron.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Nuckolls, Colin P.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
June 24, 2018