Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department


Committee Member

Dr. Rhett C. Smith, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Dr. Karl Dieter

Committee Member

Dr. Jason McNeill

Committee Member

Dr. Stephen Foulger


Conjugated polymers are of particular interest for many device applications, especially those involving optoelectronics. Not only is there a potential for π-conjugated organic materials to replace inorganic materials in applications such as solar cells and light emitting diodes, but there is also the possibility for these materials to serve as key components of cheaper, more environmentally-friendly, lighter and more flexible materials. For over thirty years, researchers have been striving to understand the morphology, electrochemical and photophysical properties of this new class of organic materials. The work presented herein advances the field through synthetic design and morphological studies. In addition, several novel materials for metal ion and nitroorganic detection have been discovered. The work delineated in Chapter 2 reveals the utility of the m-terphenyl unit to provide steric control of intra- and interchain interactions. A charge transfer band and a FRET effect were observed from materials prepared via simple post-polymerization modification. In Chapter 3, the detection of nitro-organics using several new polymers is discussed, with an extensive comparison to the literature. Steric, electronic, media polarity, and aggregation effects proved influential in the polymer-analyte interaction. In Chapter 4 work is outlined wherein the morphology of polymers in solution and the solid state is further examined. The study revealed a correlation between aggregation in solution and eventual nanomorphology of films derived from the solutions. Chapter 5 expands upon the work in Chapter 2 with an exploration of six new polymers that were generated via post-polymerization of two parent polymers via Sonogashira coupling. The new polymers were examined for use in metal ion and nitroorganic fluorescence response. The metal ion studies revealed the polymers to be tunable based on the donor or acceptor character of the spacer unit. From the detection of 2,4-dinitrotoluene, one polymer was found to have a comparable ultimate quenching efficiency to those discussed in Chapter 3.



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