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Piotr Kaszynski

Title and Contact Information

Associate Professor of Chemistry
Office: 7636 SC
Phone: (615) 322-3458


Ph.D., University of Texas Austin, 1991
Habilitation, University of Lodz, 2007


Organic Chemistry
Materials Chemistry
Inorganic Chemistry

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Molecular Materials

Development and application of materials with well defined molecular and bulk properties is becoming increasingly important for contemporary technologies. Our research addresses basic and applied problems and concentrates in three major areas of advanced organic materials. We design, synthesize, and characterize materials for optoelectronic applications, nanoscale construction, molecular electronics, and molecular magnetism. The desired electronic effects in organic molecules are engineered using main group elements such as B, Si, N, P, and S. Each project involves extensive computer-aided design of molecular systems, synthesis and study of the new materials, and comparison of the experimental results with theoretical predictions.

One of our group's major strengths is our considerable expertise in organic synthesis and in the properties of liquid crystals. We have also developed a good level of understanding of semi-empirical and ab initio computational methods which allows us to predict molecular properties and also to choose synthetic targets for study.

We are actively developing liquid crystalline materials for applications in flat panel displays. The dielectric anisotropy is related to the distribution of dipole moments within the molecule and is essential for the electrooptical effect in liquid crystal displays in calculators, laptop computers, etc. An electron deficient boron atom and its polar bonds in tetra- and higher-coordinated boron compounds are at the heart of our design. We are exploring boron closo-clusters, such as p-carborane, as novel structural elements of liquid crystalline molecules as shown in Figure 1.We also pursue a novel class of ionic liquid crystals based on the [CB9H10]- inorganic boron cluster.

The centerpiece of our design of potentially magnetic radical liquid crystals is the thioaminyl radical fragment which can be easily incorporated into aromatic rings (e.g. Figure 2) and thus into the rigid cores of a variety of mesogenic molecules. The design is general and, in principle, allows for engineering of almost all types of liquid crystalline phases and the study of electronic and magnetic phenomena in semiordered media. Using these materials, we hope to test the theory that molecular organic magnetism may be achieved through partially oriented fluids.

Nanotechnology and molecular electronics are rapidly growing interdisciplinary fields. However, there is a gap between the designs for nanodevices and available molecular building elements. Our goal is to fill this gap by providing rationally designed molecules, which would serve either as supportive elements, or as active components in molecular assembles. In our lab, we work on challenging ring systems with unique geometries and structures that can be used to make attractive spacers for the construction of a molecular diode, a molecular shift register, or for the study of electron transfer processes in general.

Selected Publications

Jankowiak, A.; Obijalska, E.; Kaszynski, P. Cyclization of substitued 2-(2-fluorophenylazo)azines to azino[1,2-c]benzo[d][1,2,4]triazinium derivatives. Beilstein Journal of Organic Chemistry. 2013, 9 (0): 1873-1879.

Jankowiak, A.; Pociecha, D.; Monobe, H.; Szczytko, J.; Debska, Z.; Romanski, J.; Kaszynski, P. Induction of Columnar Discotic Behavior in Verdazyl Radicals with Alkylsulfanyl Substituents. Phosphorus Sulfur and the Related Elements. 2013, 188 (4): 418-426.

Kaszynski, P.; Januszko, A.; Glab, K. L. Comparative Analysis of Fluorine-Containing Mesogenic Derivatives of Carborane, Bicyclo[2.2.2]octane, Cyclohexane, and Benzene using the Maier-Meier Theory. The Journal of Physical Chemistry B. 2013, 118 (8): 2238-48.

Jankowiak, A.; Ringstrand, B.; Januszko, A.; Kaszynski, P; Wand, M. D. Liquid crystals with negative dielectric anisotropy: the effect of unsaturation in the terminal chain on thermal and electro-optical properties. Liquid Crystals. 2013, 40 (5): 605-615.

Ringstrand, B.; Kaszynski, P. Functionalization of the [closo-1-CB9H10](-) Anion for the Construction of New Classes of Liquid Crystals. Accounts of Chemical Research. 2013, 46 (2): 214-225.

Jankowiak, A.; Balinski, A.; Harvey, J. E.; Mason, K.; Januszko, A.; Kaszynski, P.; Young, V. G.; Persoons, A. [closo-B10H10](2-) as a structural element for quadrupolar liquid crystals: a new class of liquid crystalline NLO chromophores. Journal of Materials Chemistry C. 2013, 1 (6): 1144-1159.

Jankowiak, A.; Pociecha, D.; Monobe, H.; Szczytko, J.; Kaszynski, P. Thermochromic discotic 6-oxoverdazyls. Chemical Communications. 2012, 48 (56): 7064-7066.

Pecyna, J.; Sivaramamoorthy, A.; Jankowiak, A.; Kaszynski, P. Anion driven ionic liquid crystals: The effect of the connecting group in [closo-1-CB9H10]-derivatives on mesogenic properties. Liquid Crystals. 2012, 39 (8): 965-971.

Jankowiak A.; Kaszynski P. Synthesis of oleophilic electron-rich phenylhydrazines. Beilstein Journal of Organic Chemistry. 2012, (8): 275-282.

Pecyna J. G.; Ringstrand, B.; Kaszynski P. Transmission of Electronic Effects through the {closo-1-CB9} and {closo-1-CB11} Cages: Apparent Dissociation Constants for Series of [closo-1-CB9H8-1-COOH-10-X] and [closo-1-CB11H10-1-COOH-12-X] Acids. Inorganic Chemistry. 2012, 51 (9): 5353-5359.

Jankowiak A.; Debska Z.; Romanski J.; Kaszynski P. Synthesis of 3,4-dialkylsulfanyl- and 3,4,5-trialkylsulfanyl derivatives of bromobenzene and benzaldehyde. Journal of Sulfur Chemistry. 2012, 33 (1): 1-7.

Ringstrand B.; Jankowiak A.; Johnson L. E.; Kaszynski P.; Pociecha D.; Gorecka E. Anion-driven mesogenicity: a comparative study of ionic liquid crystals based on the [closo-1-CB9H10](-) and [closo-1-CB11H12](-) clusters. Journal of Materials Chemistry. 2012, 22 (11): 4874-4880.

Jankowiak A.; Pociecha D.; Szczytko J.; Monobe H.; Kaszynski P. Photoconductive Liquid-Crystalline Derivatives of 6-Oxoverdazyl. Journal of the American Chemical Society. 2012, 134 (5): 2465-2468.

Ringstrand B.; Kaszynski P.; Young V. G. Diazotization of the Amino Acid [closo-1-CB(9)H(8)-1-COOH-6-NH(3)] and Reactivity of the [closo-1-CB(9)H(8)-1-COO-6-N(2)](-) Anion. Inorganic Chemistry. 2011, 50 (6): 2654-2660.

Ringstrand B.; Oltmanns M.; Batt J. A.; Jankowiak A.; Denicola R. P.; Kaszynski P. The preparation of 3-substituted-1,5-dibromopentanes as precursors to heteracyclohexanes. Beilstein Journal of Organic Chemistry. 2011, 7: 386-393.

Jankowiak A.; Obijalska E.; Kaszynski P.; Pieczonka A.; Young V. G. Synthesis and structural, spectroscopic, and electrochemical characterization of benzo[c]quinolizinium and its 5-aza-, 6-aza, and 5,6-diaza analogues. Tetrahedron. 2011, 67 (19): 3317-3327.

Obijalska E.; Kaszynski P.; Jankowiak A.; Young V. G. Preparation and evaluation of 2-azinyl-2H-benzotriazoles as bidentate ligands: Synthesis and characterization of [2-(2-pyridynyl)-2H-benzotriazole](bpy)(2)Ru(2+) . Polyhedron. 2011, 30 (7): 1339-1348.