The Giri research group is focused on studying the fundamental processes (thermodynamic, kinetic, mechanical and optical) that lead to different organic molecule and metal organic framework morphologies, and utilizing this knowledge to create innovative methods of controlling microstructure and phase for pharmaceutical and energy applications. Microfluidics and X-ray diffraction analysis methods feature strongly in our program to study organic molecule packing and morphology.
We are located in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Virginia.
Biological availability of a pharmaceutical compound is highly dependent on the solid phase structure of the compound, as well as the crystal size and crystal size distribution. Our group is constructing a microfluidic program that can generate varying crystal structures and sizes of potential pharmaceutical compounds in-flow. These structures can be easily handled and transported to different regions to test their physical and biological properties. Our goal is to create a rapid integrated microfluidic process that generates the crystal structures/sizes and tests the physical and biological properties of candidate pharmaceutical molecules without using a lot of material or taking a long time.
In organic electronics, the exact crystal packing, disorder and defect can dramatically change the charge transport properties of the resulting devices. There is currently incomplete understanding of the crystal packing phase space that is possible for high performance organic semiconductors. We are using microfluidics and x-ray diffraction is used to create methods to generate complete thermodynamic and kinetic phase diagrams for small organic molecules rapidly and without the use of large amounts of material. We apply this understanding to create high performance organic electronics. This data will also be invaluable in testing hypotheses of the relationship between a compound’s chemical structure and its physical micro/macrostructure. This knowledge is applicable to organic semiconductors and nanoparticles.
Metal organic frameworks are an emerging class of materials that show promise for various applications such as sensing, electronics and energy storage. Using crystal growth understanding, our group is exploring MOF crystallization, polymorphism and thin film formation. We are also studying the sensitivity and stability of MOFs for sensing, catalysis, storage, separation and electronics.