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Recent Publications:

  1.  "Ionic Liquids Exhibit the Piezoelectric Effect"  J. Pyhs. Chem. Lett., 2023, 14, 2731-2735.

  2. "Relating the Induced Free Charge Density Gradient in a Room Temperature Ionic Liquid to Molecular-Scale Organization", J. Phys. Chem. B, 2023, 127, 1780-1788.

  3. "Dilution-Induced Changes in Room Temperature Ionic Liquids. Persistent Compositional Heterogeneity and the Importance of Dipolar Interactions" J. Mol. Liq., 2022, 367, 120447.

Congrats to our recent graduates!

    Yufeng Wang  '21
    Briana Capistran '21
    Corbin Livingston '21

Welcome to our newest group member!

  Emily Simonis, 2022

Congratulations to Iqbal on being awarded the Alfred J. and Ruth Zeits Research Endowment Fellowship!

Blanchard Group Research Interests

The ability to control the physical properties and chemical selectivity of an interface is an issue central to areas of science ranging from cellular function to heterogeneous catalysis and chemical sensing. The Blanchard group works on the design and synthesis of interfaces with an eye toward achieving this control. We are currently focusing our energies on catalytic and biomimetic systems because of their broad utility. We use picosecond nonlinear laser spectroscopies in conjunction with more traditional methods to address these problems.

Current interests include:

1. Using molecular diffusion to characterize interfacial heterogeneity

2. Measuring interfacial charge gradients in room temperature ionic liquids

3. Studying excited-state lifetimes of super-photobase molecules

Using molecular diffusion to characterize interfacial heterogeneity
Covalently bound interfacial adlayers are not fluid, and fluid adlayers are not physically or chemically robust. These limiting cases have frustrated advances in fields such as molecular-scale lubrication, chemical separations and cellular adhesion. We are developing a novel family of interfaces that can be bound to a surface and at the same time retain the properties of a fluid. Both the thermodynamic driving force for complexation and the kinetics of surface diffusion can be controlled through metal ion complexation, system pH, the surface complexing moieties, and the amphiphile headgroups.

Measuring interfacial charge gradients in room temperature ionic liquids
Room temperature ionic liquids (RTILs) have found use in a variety of practical applications. Despite their wide use, many fundamental issues remain in understanding dynamics, organization, and response of these materials to external forces. The Blanchard and Swain groups have demonstrated that RTILs in contact with a charged surface can exhibit a gradient in the dynamics of charged chromophores in the RTIL. We propose that RTILs can form free charge density gradients over microscopic distances when exposed to charged surface(s). Spatially-resolved spectroscopic data reveal persistent organization over ca. 100 μm induced in a RTIL by a charged support. This length scale is five orders of magnitude greater than the typical electric double layer seen in dilute solution, and its existence will prove to be transformative to our understanding and use of this class of materials.

Studying excited-state lifetimes of super-photobase molecules
Light activation can be used to achieve reactivity of super-photobase molecules, which are other nonreactive under typical conditions. Absorption of light can induce a change in electronic structure of these compounds, and this can be studied to better understand how to control the lifetime of the reactive species to perform various chemical reaction. Application of these compounds is pertinent in precision chemistry, in which control over the reactivity of reagents is necessary in achieving the desired results. This project is a collaborative effort between organic, analytical, physical, and theoretical groups within the Chemistry department.

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