200 years of research with carbon-rich molecules have shaped the development of modern chemistry. Research pertaining to the chemistry of boron-rich species has historically trailed behind its more distinguished neighbor (carbon) in the periodic table. Most importantly, a potentially rich and, in many cases, unmatched field of using boron-rich clusters in materials science remains fundamentally underdeveloped. Our work is devoted towards examining several basic concepts related to the functionalization of polyhedral boron-rich clusters and their use as unique building blocks for materials with applications ranging from catalysis to modulating protein-biomolecule interactions.
These clusters are particularly interesting since they can be regarded as three-dimensional (3D) analogs of benzene. The unique chemical and physical properties of these species such as rigidity, inertness, and 3D aromaticity, allows one to access a set of properties not normally available in carbon-based chemistry. Over the past several years we have demonstrated how these clusters can be used to create a new class of organic light emitting diode materials, extremely powerful photo-oxidant reagents for polymerization and doping, unique building blocks for stabilization of surfaces and atomically-precise nanoparticle surrogates featuring improved stabilities in biological media. My presentation will focus on several of these recent developments highlighting new directions for these clusters including potential applications in chemistry and materials science.