Matt Brege’s project uses high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) to detect explosives. He and adviser Eugene Wickenheiser use techniques similar to those of the FBI, detecting compounds such as nitrotoluene and dinitrotoluene by using a UV/visible spectrum indicator in the HPLC. Currently, they are working on extracting compounds from disposable gloves exposed to the chemicals over time.
Levi Ekanger’s project focuses on synthesizing unreactive anions of certain boron compounds. He explores the coordinating abilities of novel anions and the synthesis of weakly coordinating anions, which can be used to form superacids, catalysts in olefin polymerization and reactive trialkylsilylating agents. He and adviser Tom Getman use Fourier Transform-Nuclear Magnetic Resonance spectroscopy and FT-Infrared spectroscopy to characterize their compounds.
Jen Jarvis is assisting Dr. Frankie McCormick in developing a replacement for tin hydride in radical cyclization reactions. Tin hydride is harmful and cannot be used for synthesis in the drug industry. Currently, they are examining bulky thiols and silanes as potential replacements for tributyl in tin hydride, using polarity reversal catalysis (PRC) and IR/NMR spectroscopy.