Professor Barybin’s research program lies at the interface of inorganic, coordination, organic, and materials branches of chemistry. It includes development of organometallic and inorganic synthetic methodologies and studies of electron delocalization and transport in electron-rich organometallics. A major current effort of the Barybin team involves design of hybrid metal/organic ensembles incorporating the azulenic motif, an edge sharing combination of five-and seven-membered sp2-carbon rings. The azulenic framework occurs naturally in certain highly conductive carbon nanotubes and its light absorption/emission characteristics are tunable in the entire visible range through chemical derivatization.
The Barybin group employs “alligator clips”, such as isocyanides, carboxylates, and thiolates to couple the azulenic scaffold to metal atoms, ions, and surfaces without destruction of its unusual nonbenzenoid aromatic π- system. The fundamental knowledge gained in this research will ultimately be used to fabricate new generations of nanoscale charge transport and, possibly, optoelectronic devices. In addition to azulene-based organometallics, the Barybin group designs functionalized organic surfaces and explores the chemistry of electrochromic molecular electron reservoirs for potential electronics and sensing applications.