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Nitrogen-Containing Materials for Mechanochemical Synthesis, Luminescence Analysis, and Heterogeneous Catalysis

NCJ Number
David J. Nash
Date Published
156 pages

This dissertation reports on the experimental exploration of the defect sites in hexagonal-boron nitride to determine catalytic activity, and in copper(I) iodide clusters to explore its potential use as a novel sensor for narcotic substances.


The author of this dissertation describes a research study to investigate two nitrogen-containing materials for their potential applicability to forensic science, specifically, optoelectronics and chemical sensing. The author first describes the investigation of defect sites in hexagonal-boron nitride (h-Bn), a compound that is typically used in the cosmetic industry, to determine any catalytic activity. Specifically, the author focused the research on the hydrogen reaction using defect-laden hexagonal-boron nitride (dh-Bn), and suggests that successful catalysis will add to the short list of non-metal catalysts and provide an alternative catalyst that costs significantly less than traditional metal catalysts which are commonly used in commercial industries. The second nitrogen-containing material to be researched as part of this study was copper(I) iodide, for its potential use as a novel sensor for narcotic substances due to its photoluminescent properties, building on research in the photophysics field. The author provides a mechanochemistry overview and literature review, with a discussion of mechanochemical synthesis, catalytic hydrogenation, and methods for the presumptive identification of illicit substances. The author then discusses heterogenous metal-free hydrogenation over dh-Bn, photoluminescent copper(I) iodide cluster compounds for the novel detection and identification of heterocyclic amines of forensic interest, and the integration of basic research with app-based analysis. Results included the realization of a new metal-free heterogeneous hydrogenation catalyst through the introduction of defects into h-Bn sheets, and the author suggests that the use of metal-free hydrogenation catalysts will reduce the risks associated with incorporation of metals into hydrogenation products.