Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Michael J. Zaworotko, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Randy W. Larsen, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Carmen Valdez Gauthier, Ph.D.

Committee Member

H. Lee Woodcock, Ph.D.


crystal engineering, green chemistry, solid-state synthesis, cocrystal, coordination polymer, MOMs, supramolecular chemistry


In this research project, reduction or complete elimination of organic solvents is explored in the synthesis of cyclic imides using a technique that brings reagents into favorable position to react. Cocrystal Controlled Solid-State Synthesis (C3Sy3), takes advantage of supramolecular interactions such as hydrogen bonding and π-π stacking to form a cocrystal which can sequential be heated to complete the condensation reaction and produce a desirable product. Twenty-five successful condensation reactions result in high and clean yield.

C3Sy3 of cyclic imides with auxiliary hydrogen bonding moieties like carboxylic acid, carboxylate or pyridyl groups are amenable to form additional solid-state materials. These moieties are useful in forming coordinate covalent bonds with metal cations. Using these C3Sy3 synthesized molecules as ligands, various Metal-Organic Materials (MOMs) are self-assembled. These MOMs offer unique qualities owing to the properties of the cyclic imides. With the addition of accessible carbonyl groups, they may participate as hydrogen bond acceptors or hydrophilic groups. Various degrees of rotation of N-phenyl substituents around the imide plane allow for structural flexibility as a route to supramolecular isomers in MOMs. The ease in imide synthesis may allow the fast scale-up of these ligands for industrial application. Similar ligands are generally synthesized by cross-coupling or substitution reactions that require expensive catalyst and various organic solvents.

Metal-organic materials are a class of compounds amenable to crystal engineering owing to the directional coordinate covalent bonds between metal or metal clusters and organic ligands. They are characterized by X-ray diffraction, spectroscopy, volumetric and gravimetric analysis. The C3Sy3 imides were used to construct various MOMs, from discrete nanostructures to extended 3-periodic frameworks that possess viable internal space for applications pertaining to porous materials. Structural characterization by single crystal X-ray diffraction and structure-function relations are addressed. Gas sorption experiments show that many of these materials are structurally robust and retain crystallinity after evacuation. Ion exchange and guest uptake experiments using the synthesized materials demonstrate their potential as agents for sequestration.

The bottom-up synthesis of metal-organics materials is leading the field of crystal engineering with built-in properties, showing promise by combining attributes from both inorganic and organic components.