Fundamental research in chemistry has laid the foundations for the discovery and design of new materials with fascinating magnetic, electrical and optical properties, prompting inventions anywhere from faster computers to lighter long-range planes. Magnets have been used by humans for the last thousand years. The earliest magnets were made from a lodestone, a mineral rich in iron ore. Currently, commercial magnets are still mainly based on transition-metals and their oxides. Recently, however, magnets have been reported that are based on unpaired electrons in n, p, or s orbitals of organic molecules. The quest for new organic materials with magnetic properties arises from them being potentially both more cost effective and lighter than the more traditional metal magnets. The pursuit of organic magnetic materials has sparked renewed interest in triplet nitrenes, which are ideal candidates because of their high spin properties.
We have shown that triplet alkyl nitrenes can be formed selectively in solutions and the solid-state. Furthermore, alkyl nitrenes are highly unreactive because they do not abstract H-atom from the solvent or react with their precursors. (For more details take a look at these publications: 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5). Our goal is rendering the nitrene unreactive so they can be used as building blocks for organic magnets.
Currently, we are investigating the reactivity of vinylnitrenes in solution and in the solid-state. Laser flash photolysis of nanocrystals in water suspension makes it possible to identify vinylnitrenes in the solid state. We are also identifying different precursors to form triplet vinylnitrenes (For more details click here).