Honors Program

Honors in Chemistry

Date of Award


Thesis Professor(s)

Catherine McCusker

Thesis Professor Department


Thesis Reader(s)

Dane Scott


The field of photochemistry is as innovative in development as it is broad in application. However, utilization of energy from the sun’s electromagnetic radiation remains secondary to the combustion of fossil fuels for the global energy consumption. This is neither a sustainable nor renewable system, and it has contributed to a major decline in the health of our global environment as the greenhouse gases emission has led to an incline in global temperatures and ocean acidity. To develop effective ways to utilize solar energy, experimental effort is being directed towards the understanding of photosensitizers, molecules which absorb solar radiation and initiate redox chemistry in CO2 reduction catalysts. Some zinc dipyrrins, one such class of photosensitizers, are theorized to undergo intersystem crossing through a charge separated state, a transition that is stabilized in polar solvents. This transition increases the lifetime of the excited state, as relaxation from the triplet state occurs much slower than from the singlet state. A phenyl substituted zinc dipyrrin was attempted to be synthesized and characterized using NMR spectroscopy to probe aromatic substituent effects on the molecule’s photophysics. The product was analyzed by UV-vis spectroscopy in order to confirm its purity and TLC analysis shows that the reaction kinetics are much slower in this phenyl substituted zinc dipyrrin than in previous reports, most likely due to the steric hindrance induced by the bulky phenyl substitutions.


East Tennessee State University

Document Type

Honors Thesis - Open Access

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.


Copyright by the authors.