Sewanee: The University of the South

Student-Faculty Research Published in Langmuir

January 30, 2012

A.J. Zucchero (C’04), Jamie Robinson (C’10) and Prof. Robert Bachman have published a paper entitled “General Approach to Low-Molecular-Weight Metallogellators via Coordination-Induced Gelation of an L-Glutamate-Based Lipid” in Langmuir (2012, 28, 27-30). The paper reports the Bachman group’s initial foray into a new area of research. The focus of the work was the synthesis of a new class of molecules capable of both binding metal atoms and forming gels, a class of materials consisting of a liquid immobilized by a small amount of a gelling agent (Jello is a well-known example). The materials reported by Bachman and his students may find use in separation of metal ions from solution or catalysis.

“As with many new research ideas, it took us a bit longer than I would have liked to complete the story, but it is great to see it in print finally,” comments Bachman. “Without the work of two very gifted undergraduates, this paper would never have happened. A.J. did fantastic work getting the project off the ground, from figuring out the needed synthetic conditions to characterizing the lipid. Unfortunately, once he graduated the work stalled for a while until Jamie took on the challenge of working with these unusual materials. Her careful physical measurements were crucial to completing the story.” A.J. has since completed a Ph.D. in organic chemistry at Georgia Tech and now works in intellectual property law. Jamie is currently attending medical school at the UT Health Science Center in Houston, TX.

Langmuir, begun in 1985, has rapidly become the premier journal in the interdisciplinary field of interfacial materials science, including areas such as colloids, gels, thin films and biological interfaces. It is among the top-ranked journals in physical chemistry and materials science.

The work was began with support from Research Corporation via a Cottrell College Science Award. It also benefited from support from the Jessie Ball-duPont Foundation via a grant to Sewanee intended to strengthen student-faculty research on campus.

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