Design, Syntheses, and Analyses of Organic Materials for Electronic, Photonic, or Medicinal Applications

Dr. Sean Clancy designs, synthesizes, and analyzes small molecule organics, monomers, polymers, and self-assembled monolayers for use as functional coatings for a variety of applications: charge storage, light-emission, and biomedical research.

During his ASEE/NRL Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division in China Lake, CA, he worked with Jennifer and David Irvin on the synthesis and analysis of electroactive polymers in advanced charge storage devices. He synthesized a variety of heterocyclic aromatic systems and their electronic properties were evaluated as n-type conductive polymers.

He completed a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry under the advisement of Aaron Harper in the Donald P. & Katherine B. Loker Hydrocarbon Research Institute at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, CA, with his dissertation: “Design and syntheses of polymeric materials for visible and near-infrared emitting applications.” In his research, several classes of polyphenylene-type polymeric materials were synthesized according to several different design parameters, with the end results of each being able to sensitize lanthanide chelates, which emit energy in the visible and/or near-infrared regions of the electromagnetic spectrum. The goal of this research was to create materials that would emit in the near-infrared. The first set of materials was para-meta linked polyphenylene-type polymers with pendant terpyridine groups to which europium complexes were bound. The second set was para-meta linked polyphenylene-type polymers with various pendant beta-diketonates to which europium complexes were bound. The third set was para-meta linked polyphenylene-type polymers with various pendant beta-diketonates to which erbium-porphyrinate complexes were bound.

Polymers and organic ligands were designed with specific structural properties that lead to the desired photophysical properties. These structure-property relationships also lead to the pendant groups to which the lanthanides would be datively or covalently bonded to the polymer. Upon this foundation, the third group of materials reached the goal of having polymeric-materials that emitted energy in the near-infrared region of the electromagnetic spectrum.

For two years prior to graduate school, he synthesized therapeutic candidates as a Research Technologist in the Organic Synthesis Core Facility at Mayo Clinic Jacksonville with Abdul Fauq in Jacksonville, FL, targeting muscular, neurological, and neurodegenerative diseases. Most of the compounds were a variety of small molecule organics, including amino acid, caffeine, inositol, peptide, and sugar derivatives, as well as some larger molecules, such as peptide nucleic acid oligomers.

He has authored sixteen technical publications, including one book. His research emphasizes materials design and organic synthesis. His foundation in rational design and structure-property relationship studies aids in developing new technologies from the molecular level.