Professor Alex Asandei Awarded NSF-EAGER Grant

Prof. Alex Asandei was awarded a prestigious NSF-EAGER (Early Concept Grants for Exploratory Research) grant for his proposal “Metal Mediated Perfluoroalkyl Halide Activation towards Functional Group Interconversion and Coordination Polymerization of Fluoroalkenes.” The grant is part of the NSF Potentially Transformative Research funding initiative in the Chemistry Division.

This research aims at developing new approaches towards the synthesis and up/recycling of fluorinated materials. Unlike conventional plastics, fluorinated polymers display not only high chemical or thermal resistance, but also important electronic properties which render them indispensable in building and construction, automotive, aeronautics, and aerospace industrial applications. However, due to their low inherent reactivity and the lack of appropriate chemistry including initiators and catalysts, fluoroalkenes are among the most challenging monomers for controlled radical or coordination polymerizations. Thus, the synthesis, characterization and applications of complex fluorinated architectures lag far behind those derived from nonfluorinated monomers. Conversely, certain PFAS (polyfluoroalkyl substances) are considered detrimental to the environment and their replacement/recycling is needed. The proposed work will focus on the development of novel fluorine chemistry towards both goals.