Chemistry seniors and professor publish groundbreaking paper

Brandon J. Cooper and Riley E. Cooper, seniors in the Louisiana Tech University chemistry program, have co-authored a paper which has been published in Dalton Transactions, an international journal of the Royal Society of Chemistry that publishes high-quality, original research in inorganic and organometallic chemistry. Research for the paper was conducted under the guidance of Dr. Elisabeth Fatila, assistant professor of chemistry and molecular science and nanotechnology.

Riley Cooper, Dr. Elisabeth Fatila, and Brandon Cooper have conducted research published in a renowned chemistry journal.

Riley Cooper, Dr. Elisabeth Fatila, and Brandon Cooper have conducted research published in a renowned chemistry journal.

The paper titled “Stoichiometric Control: 8- and 10-coordinate Ln(hfac)3(bpy) and Ln(hfac)3(bpy)2 Complexes of the Early Lanthanides La–Sm” is an effort between Fatila, Cooper and Cooper in collaboration with researchers from the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, and Indiana University Bloomington. The research described in the paper outlines the effort of showing different synthetic methods, including using mechanochemistry to generate both 8- and 10-coordinate lanthanide complexes.

The paper delves into the fundamental aspects of the coordination chemistry of the lanthanides including coordination number, geometry and reactivity. The applications for these materials include using them as chemical vapor deposition (CVD) precursors and as luminescent and magnetic materials.

The students carried out the mechanochemical syntheses and in-house characterization at Louisiana Tech, using equipment available in the Chemistry program.

“For the manuscript we needed to evaluate the effectiveness of the mechanochemical synthesis compared to the conventional solution synthesis,” Fatila said. “Fortunately, the FT-IR and DSC (differential scanning calorimeter) were available for the project and near the sample preparation area so we could perform time studies. These University facilities were critical to the success of the project.”

Both students say they feel that this publication is a springboard to their future endeavors in organometallic research.

“I believe this manuscript is the first small step toward our independent research careers in organometallic/natural product synthesis,” Brandon Cooper said.

Riley Cooper added that she believes the manuscript is a testament to the growth of the Chemistry program and that Louisiana Tech can be an excellent place for undergraduate research in the chemical sciences.

Over the Winter Quarter, the Louisiana Tech team plans to improve their process using University equipment and publish a follow-up paper by the end of the academic year.

The abstract for the original paper can be found on the Royal Society of Chemistry website.