Chemistry, Department of

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Synthesis of Isotopically Labelled Disparlure Enantiomers and Application to the Study of Enantiomer Discrimination in Gypsy Moth Pheromone‐Binding Proteins

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2019-09-30
Abstract: 

To study the binding mechanism of disparlure (7,8)-epoxy-2-methyloctadecane enantiomers with pheromone-binding proteins (PBPs) of the gypsy moth, oxygen-17 or 18 and 5,5,6,6-deuterium labelled disparlure enantiomers were prepared in an efficient, enantioselective route. Key steps involve the asymmetric α-chlorination of dodecanal by SOMO catalysis and Mitsunobu inversion of a 1, 2-chlorohydrin. The pheromone, (+)-disparlure (7R, 8S), was tested in two infested zones, demonstrating that it is very attractive towards male gypsy moths. Studies of the binding of (+)-disparlure and its antipode to gypsy moth PBPs by 2H &17O NMR at 600 MHz are reported. Chemical shifts, spin-lattice relaxation times and transverse relaxation times  of deuterium atoms of disparlure enantiomers in 2H NMR show that binding of disparlure enantiomers to PBP1 differs from binding to PBP2, as expected from their opposite binding preferences (PBP1 binds (-)-disparlure, and PBP2 binds (+)-disparlure more strongly). Models of the disparlure enantiomers bound to one internal binding site and two external binding sites of both PBPs were constructed. The observed chemical shift changes of deuterated ligand signals, from non-bound to bound, T1 and T2 values are correlated with results from the simulations. Together these results suggest that the disparlure enantiomers adopt distinct conformations within the binding sites of the two PBPs and interact with residues that line the sites.

Document type: 
Article

Investigation of H atom and free radical behaviour in clathrate hydrates of organic molecules

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2019-10-15
Abstract: 

Clathrate hydrates are icy materials composed of a lattice of water molecules containing well-defined cavities which can accommodate small guest molecules. Their large storage capacity makes clathrates attractive media for a variety of gas storage and separation applications, but there is relatively little information on the chemical stability and diffusion of guest molecules. At the fundamental level inter-cage transition energies have been calculated, but the results need to be tested with experimental data. Ideally this should involve single-atom transport, using an isotopic tracer or spin label. Muonium (Mu = µ+e–) qualifies on both counts. As a single-electron atom with the muon as nucleus it may be considered a light isotope of hydrogen. Furthermore muonium and its reaction products may be monitored by muon spin spectroscopy. In recent years we have used this method to probe H-atom and free radical behaviour in clathrate hydrates. The current work extends studies to benzene and acetone clathrate hydrates. Of note is the simultaneous detection of muonium and muoniated radicals in the same sample. This can happen when Mu is trapped in an empty cavity, remote from its reaction partner. Increase in temperature leads to transport of Mu between cages and results in encounters with reactive guest molecules. By studying the temperature dependence of Mu and radical signals, we have been able to determine the activation energy for transport of Mu between cavities.

Document type: 
Article

Exploiting Molecular Symmetry Reduction to Enrich Liquid Crystal Phase Diversity

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2019-02-17
Abstract: 

The strategic tuning of liquid crystalline phase behaviour by adjusting molecular symmetry was investigated. A family of sixteen symmetrical and unsymmetrical 2,6-di(4’-n-alkoxybenzoyloxy) naphthalene derivatives were prepared and their liquid crystal properties examined by differential scanning calorimetry, polarised optical microscopy, and x-ray diffraction. All mesogens formed nematic phases, with longer-chain analogues also exhibiting smectic C phases at lower temperatures. Melting temperatures of the compounds strongly depend on molecular symmetry, whereas clearing transitions are relatively insensitive to this effect. A detailed analysis indicates that the clearing point can be predicted based on the nature of the terminal alkyl chains, with only a secondary effect from molecular symmetry. Moreover, low symmetry molecules showed a greater tendency to form smectic C phases, which was ascribed to the selective depression of the melting point versus the SmC-N transition. This demonstrates that molecular symmetry-breaking is a valuable tool both for tuning liquid crystalline phase range and for increasing a material’s polymorphism.

Document type: 
Article

Evaluation of Polydentate Picolinic Acid Chelating Ligands and an α-melanocyte-stimulating Hormone Derivative for Targeted Alpha Therapy Using ISOL-Produced 225Ac

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2019-08-06
Abstract: 

Background

Actinium-225 (225Ac, t1/2 = 9.9 d) is a promising candidate radionuclide for use in targeted alpha therapy (TAT), though the currently limited global supply has hindered the development of a suitable Ac-chelating ligand and 225Ac-radiopharmaceuticals towards the clinic. We at TRIUMF have leveraged our Isotope Separation On-Line (ISOL) facility to produce 225Ac and use the resulting radioactivity to screen a number of potential 225Ac-radiopharmaceutical compounds.

Results

MBq quantities of 225Ac and parent radium-225 (225Ra, t1/2 = 14.8 d) were produced and separated using solid phase extraction DGA resin, resulting in a radiochemically pure 225Ac product in > 98% yield and in an amenable form for radiolabeling of ligands and bioconjugates. Of the many polydentate picolinic acid (“pa”) containing ligands evaluated (H4octapa [N4O4], H4CHXoctapa [N4O4], p-NO2-Bn-H4neunpa [N5O4], and H6phospa [N4O4]), all out-performed the current gold standard, DOTA for 225Ac radiolabeling ability at ambient temperature. Moreover, a melanocortin 1 receptor-targeting peptide conjugate, DOTA-modified cyclized α-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (DOTA-CycMSH), was radiolabeled with 225Ac and proof-of-principle biodistribution studies using B16F10 tumour-bearing mice were conducted. At 2 h post-injection, tumour-to-blood ratios of 20.4 ± 3.4 and 4.8 ± 2.4 were obtained for the non-blocking (molar activity [M.A.] > 200 kBq/nmol) and blocking (M.A. = 1.6 kBq/nmol) experiment, respectively.

Conclusion

TRIUMF’s ISOL facility is able to provide 225Ac suitable for preclinical screening of radiopharmaceutical compounds; [225Ac(octapa)]−, [225Ac(CHXoctapa)]−, and [225Ac(DOTA-CycMSH)] may be good candidates for further targeted alpha therapy studies.

Document type: 
Article
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A Convenient, Effective, and Safer Flame Demonstration

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2019-08-07
Abstract: 

The well-described flame demonstration illustrates different aspects of energy, electronic transition, atomic structure, and the electromagnetic spectrum. Burning salts dissolved in a solvent produces visually appealing and vividly colored flames but many incidents have been reported from improper use of solvents and further use of this method has been strongly discouraged. Although alternative approaches have been developed to address some of the safety concerns, they do not match the convenience of use and vibrant colors produced using this new method. Presented, is a new approach on the standard flame demonstration that mitigates all concern regarding solvent use and restores the convenient aspects and brilliance of color of the traditional flame demonstration without compromising safety.

Document type: 
Article

Physical Modeling of the Proton Density in Nanopores of PEM Fuel Cell Catalyst Layers

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2017-08-10
Abstract: 

In polymer electrolyte fuel cells, a foremost goal is to design catalyst layers with high performance at markedly reduced platinum loading. As a contribution towards this objective, we explore a simplified pore geometry to capture the impact of ionomer structure and metal charging properties on the proton density distribution and conductivity in relevant nanopores. The basic model is a cylindrical tubular pore confined by an ionomer shell and a solid platinum-coated core. The gap region between metal and ionomer is filled with water. We study how the surface charge density at the ionomer and the metal charging relation as well as geometric pore parameters affect the electrochemical performance. The density of charged side chains at the ionomer shell exerts a pronounced impact on the surface charge density at the Pt surface and thereby on the activity of the pore for the oxygen reduction reaction. The key parameter controlling the interplay of surface and bulk charging phenomena is the overlap of the Debye lengths of ionomer and metal surfaces in relation to the width of the gap. It allows distinguishing regions with weak and strong correlation between surface charge densities at ionomer shell and Pt core.

Document type: 
Article
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Introducing Complex NMR Mixtures at the Undergraduate Level: Analysis of the Diels-Alder Reaction Between Methylcyclopentadiene and Maleic Anhydride (Part I)

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2019
Abstract: 

Analysis of a simple NMR spectrum is fairly easy and straight forward for undergraduate students but analyzing a fairly complex NMR can be very daunting and requires a methodical approach. This work uses the ubiquitous Diels-Alder reaction of methylcyclopentadiene and maleic anhydride to introduce students to an NMR spectrum that consist of inseparable mixtures of isomers and their analysis using advanced NMR spectroscopic techniques. This laboratory experiment further outlines the use of derivatization techniques for the separation of isomeric mixtures by preparing diastereomers and using NMR spectroscopy for their identification.

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Article
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Binary Silanization and Silver Nanoparticle Encapsulation to Create Superhydrophobic Cotton Fabrics with Antimicrobial Capability

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2019-06-05
Abstract: 

Cotton fabrics are functionalized with a binary solution of fluorine-free organosilanes and “encapsulated” with silver nanoparticles to achieve both superhydrophobic and antimicrobial properties. Derived from cellulose, cotton is one of the most abundant biologically generated materials and has been used in a wide variety of consumer goods. Nonetheless, cotton fabrics are not waterproof and prone to microbial contamination. Herein we report the rapid functionalization of cotton fabrics with a binary hexane solution of methyltrichlorosilane (MTS) and octadecyltrichlorosilane (OTS) at low concentration (0.17% v/v) followed by coating with colloidal silver nanoparticles (AgNP). The combined effects of binary silanization and AgNP encapsulation produced a surface that has remarkable water contact angle of 153 ± 2° and antimicrobial properties (against gram-negative Escherichia coli). The superior performance of the modified cotton fabrics produced with fluorine-free organosilanes and silver nanoparticles augments the potential of improving the functionality of abundant biopolymers to be waterproof and contamination-resistant.

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Article
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Towards the Organic Double Heterojunction Solar Cell

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2019-04-04
Abstract: 

A perspective on the operating principles of organic bulk heterojunction solar cells is outlined and used to suggest an alternative device configuration, employing two type II semiconductor heterojunctions in series. Guiding principles to the implementation of this configuration, called a double heterojunction, are summarized. Assuming an exciton binding energy of 0.3 eV or less, results in a maximum achievable power conversion efficiency of well over 25 %. Achieving a high efficiency organic double heterojunction requires a specific energy level alignment, charge separation in the absence of driving forces, high phase purity and excellent diode quality. Fully conjugated triblock polymers of the form [D1-A1]-[D1-A2]-[D2-A2] appear to be a system that can fulfill these requirements. Going forward, the primary challenge is the identification and development of synthetically tractable materials which have the necessary properties.

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Article
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Poly(Bis-Arylimidazoliums) Possessing High Hydroxide Ion Exchange Capacity and High Alkaline Stability

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2019-05-24
Abstract: 

Solid polymer electrolyte electrochemical energy conversion devices that operate under highly alkaline conditions afford faster reaction kinetics and the deployment of inexpensive electrocatalysts compared with their acidic counterparts. The hydroxide anion exchange polymer is a key component of any solid polymer electrolyte device that operates under alkaline conditions. However, durable hydroxide-conducting polymer electrolytes in highly caustic media have proved elusive, because polymers bearing cations are inherently unstable under highly caustic conditions. Here we report a systematic investigation of novel arylimidazolium and bis-arylimidazolium compounds that lead to the rationale design of robust, sterically protected poly(arylimidazolium) hydroxide anion exchange polymers that possess a combination of high ion-exchange capacity and exceptional stability.

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Article
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