Our research efforts are directed towards the bottom-up synthesis of contorted graphitic nanocarbons with different dimensionalities. Such carbon-based π-conjugated frameworks are promising materials for next-generation nanoelectronic and optoelectronic technologies. To explore structure/property relationship and fine-tune the intrinsic properties to the specific demands of an intended application, precise control over self-assembly, electrochemical, and photophysical characteristics is required – a requirement which brings along the ability to construct carbon architectures with atomic precision. With this motivation, our goal is to develop time and waste-economic synthetic strategies for the preparation of functional molecular nanocarbons by applying modern synthetic methodologies such as transition metal catalyzed cross couplings, alkene metathesis, ‘Click’ reactions, and dynamic covalent chemistry.
At the heart of this research program is the carbon–carbon triple bond, i.e. alkynes, which are versatile structural motifs for a wide range of chemical transformations. Although this textbook chemistry has stood the test of time, continually increasing pressure to improve efficiency in chemical synthesis demands innovation. Our approach to address this challenge is to harness the intrinsic reactivity of angle-strained alkynes to assembly large phenylene scaffolds in an efficient and modular manner exploiting macrocyclic ring strain as a driving force for structural transformations. Ultimately, this strategy provides access to a myriad of fascinating targets: Planar coronoids, twisted molecular architectures, graphitic saddles and curved, flexible π-conjugated nanoribbons and -sheets. Our research is deeply rooted in organic synthesis and the compounds emerging from this program will become the subject of interdisciplinary collaborative investigations with the aim to further explore their materials properties and unlock opportunities for future applications.