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William H. Watson

Emeritus Professor and Cecil and Ida Green Distinguished Emeritus Tutor

Research Interests

Dr. Watson’s Current Page

Dr. Watson’s research involved the application of molecular structure elucidation techniques to the solution of chemical and physical problems. The laboratory is equipped with two X-ray diffractometers for structure elucidation while the Cambridge Structural Data Base, GAUSSIAN 98, Spartan, and a variety of other computational packages provide the laboratory with capabilities for structural comparisons and theoretical analyses.

The laboratory has developed techniques for the synthesis of 2-amino-1,2,3-triazole derivatives from vicinal diazides. This system has not been prepared previously, and the physical, chemical and biological properties are being investigated. The optical and electrical properties of these systems display interesting characteristics, and metal complexes are being investigated for a wide variety of applications. This work has led to the synthesis of a seriesof compounds prepared by the reaction of phosphines (e.g. triphenylphosphine) with N-substituted diazamaleimides. These materials exhibit strong luminescence, and the electrochemical properties are being evaluated.

The laboratory has investigated extensively quinone dithiolates and quinone tetrathiafulvalenes. The metal dithiolenes exhibit interesting magnetic and optical properties. Several of the complexes are true molecular ferromagnets exhibiting cooperative interactions between metal centers. The dithiolenes are also of interest as dye materials in Q-switched lasers. The absorbtion of the metal dithiolenes can be shifted toward the infrared by incorporation of suitable electron withdrawing substitutents. If the absorption can be shifted far enough they can be utilized in the development of high power pulse lasers. Dithiolenes incorporating the 2-amino-1,2,3-triazole and N-substituted maleimide systems are currently under investigation.

Highly strained organic cage molecules have interesting physical properties and undergo unusual rearrangements or addition reactions. These molecules are being investigated experimentally and theoretically to ascertain the effects of strain on physical properties. Reaction pathways and transition states are being evaluated to rationalize the reactivities of these species. Many of the strained molecules are prepared photochemically. If a cyclic process can be developed utilizing sun light as the source for the photochemical reaction, these molecules will have some potential in converting sunlight into useful energy.