Since their discovery over 40 years ago conjugated polymers have been of tremendous scientific and technological interest. These materials possess many exceptional electronic, optical and thermal properties and thus are well suited for organic semiconducting applications, such as solar cells and light emitting diodes. Unfortunately, there are several issues that have to be addressed before real-life products can be developed. Our group focuses on the design and synthesis of both polymeric and molecular organic semiconductors based from low cost and/or easily prepared starting materials. Since the properties of these materials can be readily modified through chemical synthesis, we have turned our attention towards the design and synthesis of novel building blocks. Our system of choice, benzobisazoles have many exceptional electronic, optical and thermal properties and thus are ideally suited for diverse organic semiconducting applications. Our group developed several new materials based on benzobisoxazoles including wide band gap materials for use in organic light-emitting diodes and narrow band gap materials for use in photovoltaic cells. We have also developed a versatile synthesis of benzodifuran, the oxygen analog of the popular electron rich building block benzodithiophene and are developing narrow band gap conjugated polymers based on it. Concurrently, we are also making molecular species based on this building block. Our work on the synthesis and properties and utility of these materials will be presented
BIO Malika Jeffries-EL received B.A. degrees in Chemistry and Africana Studies at Wellesley College and Master’s and Ph.D. degrees in Chemistry from The George Washington University. After one year at Smith College as a Mendenhall Fellow, she worked as a post-doctoral researcher under the direction of Prof. McCullough at Carnegie Mellon University. In 2005, she joined the Chemistry Department at Iowa State University, and in 2012 became an associate professor tenure. Dr. Jeffries-El was a Martin Luther King Jr. Visiting Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2015. She joined the Department of Chemistry and Division of Materials Science at Boston University in 2016. Dr. Jeffries-EL's research focuses on the development of organic semiconductors—materials that combine the processing properties of polymers with the electronic properties of semiconductors.