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Seth C. Rasmussen

Materials Chemistry, Chemical History

Materials Research

Our research focuses on the synthesis and characterization of novel conjugated organic materials, as well as their application to organic photovoltaics (OPVs or solar cells), photonic light detectors, and organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs). Conjugated organic materials exhibit the unique combination of the optical and electronic properties of inorganic semiconductors with the weight, flexibility, and processability of organic plastics (Figure 1). As a result, these materials are of considerable fundamental and technological interest with demonstrated applications that include their use in batteries, sensors, electrochromic devices, photovoltaics, OLEDs, and field effect transistors.

Figure 1. Real-world examples from the Rasmussen lab: A free standing conjugated polymer film (A); Electrochromic films (B); Solar cell architecture and device (C); and OLED architecture and emitting device (D).

The efforts of the Rasmussen group currently focus on the preparation and study of polythiophene-based organic materials as potential low band gap (Eg < 1.0 eV) and reduced band gap (Eg = 1.5-2.0 eV) materials. These materials are based on several general building blocks (Chart 1): thieno[3,4-b]pyrazines (TPs), acenaphtho[1,2-b]thieno[3,4-e]pyrazines (ATPs), dithieno[3,2-b:2',3'-d]pyrroles (DTPs), pyrrolo[3,2-d:4,5-d']bisthiazoles (PBTzs), and metal thiophenedithiolene (MTDT) or thiazoledithiolene (MTzDT) complexes. Such efforts have resulted in conjugated materials with record low band gaps, record high emission efficiencies, and photovoltaic responses to both far red and NIR wavelengths.

Chart 1. Conjugated building blocks (A) and illustrative polymeric materials (B).

These efforts combine synthetic inorganic and organic chemistries for the production of new materials, along with the structural, electronic, and optical characterization of these materials via various physical and analytical methods. In addition, the Rasmussen group collaborates with researchers worldwide in the application of materials developed at NDSU to working photovoltaic devices, OLEDs, and NIR light detectors. As such, students working on these projects gain experience in organic, inorganic, and polymer synthesis, as well as additional experience with a variety of spectroscopic, electrochemical, crystallographic, and computational techniques. Via various collaborations, students can also gain experience with hands-on device fabrication.

Chemical History

Prof. Rasmussen's historical efforts have focused primarily on the history of materials (glass, organic polymers/plastics, metals, etc.), as well as applications of history to science education. During the last few decades, there has been a growing awareness regarding the important role the history of science can have in undergraduate and graduate science courses and various authors have given sound justification for the inclusion of a historical component in science programs. As applied to chemistry, these include that:

  • History promotes better comprehension of scientific concepts and methods.
  • History illustrates the importance of individual thought and creativity in the development of science.
  • History is necessary to understand the nature of science.
  • History counteracts the dogmatic view commonly found in texts and classes.
  • History humanizes the subject matter, making it less abstract and more engaging for students.
  • History shows the connections between chemical disciplines.
  • History allows one to more easily identify and confront pseudoscience.

Specific historical projects include: (i) the history of glass from antiquity to the Middle Ages, particularly its impact on chemical progress; (ii) the history of alcohol and distillation; (iii) the early history of conjugated materials; (iv) the biography and work of Edwin F. Ladd; and (v) the history of chemistry at NDSU.



Selected Publications

Michael E. Mulholland, Kristine L. Konkol, Trent E. Anderson, Ryan L. Schwiderski, and Seth C. Rasmussen. Tuning the Light Absorption of Donor-Acceptor Conjugated Polymers: Effects of Side Chains and 'Spacer' Units in Thieno[3,4-b]pyrazine-Flourene Copolymers. Australian Journal of Chemistry, 2015, 68, 1759-1766.

Michael E. Mulholland, Li Wen, and Seth C. Rasmussen. Dialkyl- and Dialkoxy-functionalized Poly(thieno[3,4-b]pyrazine)s via GRIM Polymerization: Side Chain Tuning of Electronic and Optical Properties. Topological and Supramolecular Polymer Science, 2015, 2, 18-29.

Seth C. Rasmussen. Early History of Polypyrrole: The First Conducting Organic Polymer. Bulletin for the History of Chemistry, 2015, 40, 45-55.

Seth C. Rasmussen. The 18-electron Rule and Electron Counting in Transition Metal Compounds: Theory and Application. ChemTexts, 2015, 1, 10.1-10.9

Seth C. Rasmussen. Introduction - The Role of Chemical Technology in Early Civilizations. In Chemical Technology in Antiquity. Seth C. Rasmussen, Ed.; ACS Symposium Series 1211, American Chemical Society: Washington, D.C., 2015; Chapter 1, pp. 1-15.

Seth C. Rasmussen. From Honey Wine to Cultivation of the Grape: An Early History of Fermented Beverages. In Chemical Technology in Antiquity. Seth C. Rasmussen, Ed.; ACS Symposium Series 1211, American Chemical Society: Washington, D.C., 2015; Chapter 4, pp. 89-138.

Kristine L. Konkol and Seth C. Rasmussen. An Ancient Cleanser: Soap Production and Use in Antiquity. In Chemical Technology in Antiquity. Seth C. Rasmussen, Ed.; ACS Symposium Series 1211, American Chemical Society: Washington, D.C., 2015; Chapter 9, pp. 245-266.

Seth C. Rasmussen. Modern Materials in Antiquity: An Early History of the Art and Technology of Glass. In Chemical Technology in Antiquity. Seth C. Rasmussen, Ed.; ACS Symposium Series 1211, American Chemical Society: Washington, D.C., 2015; Chapter 10, pp. 267-313.

Seth C. Rasmussen. Low-Bandgap Polymers. In Encyclopedia of Polymeric Nanomaterials, Muellen, K.; Kobayashi, S., Eds.; Springer: Heidelberg, 2015; pp 1155-1166.

Seth C. Rasmussen, Sean J. Evenson, and Casey B. McCausland. Fluorescent Thiophene-based Materials and Their Outlook for Emissive Applications. Chemical Communications, 2015, 51, 4528-4543.

David Schultz, Stacy Duffield, Seth C. Rasmussen, and Justin Wageman. Effects of the Flipped Classroom Model on Student Performance for Advanced Placement High School Chemistry Students. Journal for Chemical Education, 2014, 91, 1334-1339.

Seth C. Rasmussen. The Path to Conductive Polyacetylene. Bulletin for the History of Chemistry, 2014, 39, 64-72.

Ryan L. Schwiderski and Seth C. Rasmussen.  Side chain tuning of frontier orbitals in polymers of thieno[3,4-b]pyrazine-based terthienyls. Synthetic Metals, 2014, 193, 58-63.

Seth C. Rasmussen. The Quest for Aqua Vitae. The History and Chemistry of Alcohol from Antiquity to the Middle Ages; Springer Briefs in Molecular Science: History of Chemistry; Springer: Heidelberg, 2014

Li Wen, Christopher L. Heth, and Seth C. Rasmussen. Thieno[3,4-b]pyrazine-based Oligothiophenes: Simple Models of Donor-Acceptor Polymeric Materials. Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, 2014, 16, 7231-7240.

Ryan L. Schwiderski and Seth C. Rasmussen. Synthesis and Characterization of Thieno[3,4-b]pyrazine-based Terthienyls: Tunable Precursors for Low Band Gap Conjugated Materials. Journal of Organic Chemistry 2013, 78, 5453-5462.

Seth C. Rasmussen and Gary Patterson. Introduction: The Humanity of Chemistry. In Characters in Chemistry. A Celebration of the Humanity of Chemistry; Patterson, G.; Rasmussen, S. C., Eds.; ACS Symposium Series 1136, American Chemical Society: Washington, D.C., 2013; Chapter 1.

Seth C. Rasmussen. It's a Gas! Sir Humphry Davy and his Pneumatic Investigations. In Characters in Chemistry. A Celebration of the Humanity of Chemistry; Patterson, G.; Rasmussen, S. C., Eds.; ACS Symposium Series, American Chemical Society: Washington, D.C., 2013; Chapter 7.

Seth C. Rasmussen and Sean J. Evenson. Dithieno[3,2-b:2',3'-d]pyrrole-based Materials: Synthesis and Applications to Organic Electronics. Progress in Polymer Science, 2013, 38, 1773-1804.

Benjamin C. Duck, Xiaojing Zhou, John L. Holdsworth, Li Wen, Seth C. Rasmussen, Paul C. Dastoor, and Warwick J. Belcher. An Equivalent Circuit Model for Ternary Blend P3HT:pC6TP:PCBM Low Band Gap Devices. Sol. Energy Mater. Sol. Cells, 2013, 110, 65-70.

Prakash Sista, Ruvini S. Kularatne,  Michael E. Mulholland, Mitchell Wilson, Natalie Holmes, Xiaojing Zhou, Paul C. Dastoor, Warwick Belcher, Seth C. Rasmussen, Michael C. Biewer, Mihaela C. Stefan. Benzo[1,2-b:4,5-b']dithiophene -based semiconducting polymers with alkylthienyl substituents – Synthesis and electronic property study.  Journal of Polymer Science Part A: Polymer Chemistry, 2013, 51, 2622-2630.

Benjamin C. Duck, Benjamin Vaughan, Li Wen, Christopher L. Heth, Seth C. Rasmussen, Xiaojing Zhou, Warwick J. Belcher, and Paul C. Dastoor. Probing the Structure-Function Relationship in pC6TP:PCBM Based Organic Photonic Devices. Solar Energy Materials & Solar Cells, 2013, 110, 8-14

Seth C. Rasmussen, Michael E. Mulholland, Ryan L. Schwiderski, and Cole A. Larsen "Thieno[3,4-b]pyrazines and Its Extended Analogues: Important Buildings Blocks for Conjugated Materials," Journal of Heterocyclic Chemistry 2012, 49, 479-493.

Seth C. Rasmussen. How Glass changed the World. The History and Chemistry of Glass from Antiquity to the 13th Century; SpringerBriefs in Molecular Science: History of Chemistry; Springer: Heidelburg, 2012.

Michael E. Mulholland, Ryan L. Schwiderski, and Seth C. Rasmussen, "Structure-Function Relationships in Conjugated Materials containing Tunable Thieno[3,4-b]pyrazine Units," Polymer Bulletin 2012, 69, 291-301.

Sean J. Evenson, Ted M. Pappenfus, M. Carmen Ruiz Delgado, Karla R. Radke-Wohlers, J. T. López Navarrete, and Seth C. Rasmussen, "Molecular Tuning in Highly Fluorescent Dithieno[3,2-b:2’,3’-d]pyrrole-based Oligomers: Effects of N-Functionalization and Terminal Aryl Unit," Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics 2012, 14, 6101-6111.

Seth C. Rasmussen, Ryan L. Schwiderski, and Michael E. Mulholland.  Thieno[3,4-b]pyrazines and Their Applications to Low Band Gap Organic Materials. Chemical Communications 2011, 47, 11394-11410.

Seth C. Rasmussen. Electrically Conducting Plastics: Revising the History of Conjugated Organic Polymers. In 100+ Years of Plastics. Leo Baekeland and Beyond; Strom, E. T.; Rasmussen, S. C., Eds.; ACS Symposium Series, American Chemical Society: Washington, D.C., 2011; Chapter 10.

Jon P. Nietfeld, Ryan L. Schwiderski, Thomas P. Gonnella, and Seth C. Rasmussen. Structural Effects on the Electronic Properties of Extended Fused-ring Thieno[3,4-b]pyrazine Analogues. Journal of Organic Chemistry 2011, 76, 6383-6388.

Sean J. Evenson, Matthew J. Mumm, Konstantin I. Pokhodnya, and Seth C. Rasmussen. Highly Fluorescent Dithieno[3,2-b:2',3'-d]pyrrole-based Materials: Synthesis, Characterization and OLED Device Applications. Macromolecules 2011, 44, 835-841.



BS, Washington State University, 1990
PhD, Clemson University, 1994
Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Oregon, 1995-1999

Office: 101A Ladd

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