PhD (University of Waterloo, 1990)
NSERC Postdoctoral Fellow (Cambridge 1990-91
Office: Otto Maass 313
Email: Ashok [dot] Kakkar [at] McGill [dot] CA
Web Page: http://www.kakkar-group.mcgill.ca/
Lab: Otto Maass 230
Lab Phone: (514)398-6924
Developing new synthetic methodologies that lead to "Efficient Materials" for catalysis and photonics, constitutes a major thrust of my research group. We are exploring the versatility of the acid-base hydrolysis of amino-silanes and -stannanes with compounds containing acidic end groups to synthesize a variety of supramolecular structures ranging from simple monolayers to complex dendrimers. It can help us build links between homogeneous & heterogeneous phases for active, selective and efficient catalysis of important organic transformations, and solution & interfacial chemistry for photonic based devices for second-order nonlinear optics. In our pursuit to build smart materials, the emphasis is placed on synthesis and then a detailed study of the physical properties using modern characterization tools.
Some the research projects currently being pursued include:
Dendritic Materials: Organic and organometallic dendrimers constitute a unique and intriguing class of supramolecular structures. Their synthesis using simple chemistry and easily accessible reagents, and applications in catalysis and optics, are being investigated.
Novel Matrices via a Unique Sol-gel Process: Multi-dimensional networks containing nonlinear optical chromophores that are soluble in organic solvents are ideal for building new materials with sustainable second-order nonlinear optical coefficients. Such matrices containing donor ligands and/or organometallic complexes distributed throughout their bulk, are also ideal supports for heterogenizing homogeneous catalysis.
Poled Polymers for 2nd-Order Nonlinear Optics: An extension of our acid-base hydrolytic approach provides an easy route to co-polymers of dimethylsiloxane, NLO-chromophores, and R groups such as phenyl, biphenyl and imide. These polymers are soluble in common organic solvents, and their glass transition temperatures and thermal stabilities can be tailored by introducing simple variables. Upon electric field poling, their thin films show stable second harmonic generation characteristics.
Molecular Self-Assembly: a) The Role of Molecular Order in Catalysis: With an ultimate goal of synthesizing biologically active molecules, we have begun to examine the effect of molecular order in organometallic SAMs on the catalytic hydrogenation of C=O and C=N bonds. In a similar quest, we build bifunctional catalysts by attaching two different metal centers on either side of glass, and perform sequential multistep reactions on the same support. b) Rigid-Rod Alkynyl Self-Assembled Monolayers: Self-organization of long chain alkynes via noncovalent p-p interactions provides opportunities to build devices for nonlinear optics, conductivity, etc. In this project, we carry out a detailed study of the physical properties of alkynyl SAMs using contact angle goniometry, ellipsometry, FTIR-ATR.