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Seth C. Rasmussen

Inorganic/Organic Materials Chemistry, Chemical History

Materials Research

Our research combines synthetic inorganic and organic chemistry with a focus on novel conjugated organic materials and 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 plastics (Figure 1). As a result, these materials are of considerable fundamental and technological interest with applications demonstrated for these materials 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 and reduced band gap 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), and metal thiophenedithiolene complexes (MTDTs). Such efforts have resulted in conjugated materials with record low band gaps, high emission efficiencies, and photovoltaic responses to both far red and NIR wavelengths.

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

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.

Chemical History

My main historical focus is the incorporation of chemical history into the chemical curriculum. During the last few decades, there has been a growing awareness regarding the important role played by the teaching of the History of Science in undergraduate and graduate science courses. Over the years 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 views 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 research on the history of the NDSU department of chemistry and biochemistry, glass technology of the 1200s and its impact on chemical progress, the early history of conjugated materials, and the biography of Edwin Ladd.

Selected Publications

Seth C. Rasmussen "Electrically Conducting Plastics: Revising the History of Conjugated Organic Polymers" In 100+ Years of Plastics. Leo Baekeland and Beyond; E. Thomas Strom and Seth C. Rasmussen, Eds.; ACS Symposium Series, American Chemical Society: Washington, D.C., to be published 2011 (Invited).

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, in press.

Hong Mo, Karla R. Radke, Katsu Ogawa, Christopher L. Heth, Brett T. Erpelding, and Seth C. Rasmussen "Solution and Solid-state Properties of Highly Fluorescent Dithieno[3,2-b:2',3'-d]pyrrole-based Oligothiophenes," Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, 2010, 12, 14585-14595.

Sean J. Evenson and Seth C. Rasmussen "N-Acyldithieno[3,2-b:2',3'-d]pyrroles: Second Generation Dithieno[3,2-b:2',3'-d]pyrrole Building Blocks with Stabilized Energy Levels," Organic Letters, 2010, 12, 4054-4057.

Christopher L. Heth, Dennis E. Tallman, and Seth C. Rasmussen "Electrochemical Study of 3-(N-alkylamino)thiophenes: Experimental and Theoretical Insights into a Unique Mechanism of Oxidative Polymerization," Journal of Physical Chemistry B 2010, 114, 5275-5282.

Chad M. Amb and Seth C. Rasmussen "Synthesis and Structural Characterization of Thiophene-functionalized Metal Dithiolenes" In Chemical Crystallography, Connelly, B. L, Ed.; NOVA Publishers: Hauppauge, NY, 2010; Chapter 2.

Seth C. Rasmussen "Handbook of Thiophene-Based Materials" Angewante Chemie, 2010, 122, 1960-1961; Angewante Chemie International Edition, 2010, 49, 1916-1917 (Invited Book Review)

Li Wen, Jon P. Nietfeld, Chad M. Amb, and Seth C. Rasmussen "New Tunable Thieno[3,4-b]pyrazine-based Materials," Synthetic Metals 2009, 159, 2299-2301.

Chad M. Amb and Seth C. Rasmussen "Synthesis and Characterization of a New p-Extended Nickel Dithiolene Complex for Molecular Materials," Synthetic Metals 2009, 159, 2390-2393.

Maocheng Yan, Dennis E. Tallman, Seth C. Rasmussen, and Gordon P. Bierwagen "Neutral and n-Doped Conjugated Polymers for Corrosion Control of Aluminum Alloys," Journal of the Electrochemical Society 2009, 156, C360-C366.

Jon P. Nietfeld, Sean J. Evenson, Li Wen, and Seth C. Rasmussen "Application of Tunable Thieno[3,4-b]pyrazine Building Blocks to New Low Band Gap Materials," Polymer Preprints 2009, 50(1), 503-504.

Maocheng Yan, Jie He, Dennis E. Tallman, Seth C. Rasmussen, and Gordon P. Bierwagen "Neutral and n-Doped Conjugated Polymers for Corrosion Control of Aluminum Alloys," ECS Transactions 2008, 16(52), 183-194.

Li Wen, Jon P. Nietfeld, Chad M. Amb, and Seth C. Rasmussen "Synthesis and Characterization of New 2,3-Disubstituted Thieno[3,4-b]pyrazines: Tunable Building Blocks for Low Band Gap Conjugated Materials," Journal of Organic Chemistry 2008, 73, 8529-8536.

Seth C. Rasmussen "Bruce T. Moran's Distilling Knowledge: Alchemy, Chemistry, and the Scientific Revolution and Andreas Libavius and the Transformation of Alchemy" Bulletin for the History of Chemistry 2008, 33, 122-123 (Invited Book Reviews).

Seth C. Rasmussen, Carmen J. Giunta, and Misty R. Tomchuk "Content Standards for the History and Nature of Science," in Chemistry in the National Science Education Standards: Models for Meaningful Learning, 2nd Ed., Bretz, S. L., Ed.; American Chemical Society: Washington, DC, 2008; Chapter 9 (Invited).

Li Wen, Benjamin C. Duck, Paul C. Dastoor, and Seth C. Rasmussen "Poly(2,3-dihexylthieno[3,4-b]pyrazine) via GRIM Polymerization: The Simple Preparation of a Solution Processable, Low Band Gap Conjugated Polymer," Macromolecules 2008, 41, 4576-4578.

Ted M. Pappenfus, Bethany J. Hermanson, Tyler J. Helland, Garett G. W. Lee, Steven M. Drew, Kent R. Mann, Kari A. McGee, and Seth C. Rasmussen "Reduced Band Gap Dithieno[3,2-b:2',3'-d]pyrroles: n-Type Organic Materials via Unexpected Reactivity," Organic Letters 2008, 10, 1553-1556.

Seth C. Rasmussen "Advances in 13th Century Glass Manufacturing and their Effect on Chemical Progress," Bulletin for the History of Chemistry 2008, 33, 28-34.

Jon P. Nietfeld, Christopher L. Heth, and Seth C. Rasmussen "Poly(acenaphtho[1,2-b]thieno[3,4-e]pyrazine): A New Low Band Gap Conjugated Polymer," Chemical Communications 2008, 981-983.

Chad M. Amb and Seth C. Rasmussen "Sterics vs. Electronics: Regioselective Cross-coupling of Polybrominated Thiophenes," European Journal of Organic Chemistry 2008, 801-804.



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

Office: 101A Ladd

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