The Universities of Durham and York have been awarded a Leverhulme Research Grant to work on fundamental properties of organic molecules. Prof Andy Monkman (Durham University Physics Department) and Dr Paul McGonigal (University of York Chemistry Department) have been working towards understanding how strain in a molecule affects its aromaticity which controls many key properties such as photophysics, reactivity, stability and electrical properties.
Following on from work first published in Nature Chemistry ( Saha et al. Rupturing aromaticity by periphery overcrowding. Nature Chemistry 15, 516–525 2023), this new project will allow them to study how to control these properties through molecular shape and bonding pattern to enable new chemical reactions to be made that are not seen in nature and induce novel optical properties. They also aim to gain further understanding about antiaromaticity that could give rise to esoteric new physics such as negative singlet triplet energy splitting.