Texas Tech University

Kristin Hutchins Receives NSF CAREER Award

January 22, 2021 |  

Kristin Hutchins, an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, received $650,000 from the National Science Foundation for her project, CAREER: Solid-state molecular motion, reversible covalent-bond formation, and self-assembly for controlling thermal expansion behavior. Below, Hutchins explains the project and her interest in the subject.

The project focuses on controlling how organic solids respond to changes in temperature. The topic is interesting to me because nearly all materials used in the real world are exposed to temperature changes. For electronics, this is due to heat, and for materials used in outdoor settings, this is due to weather/seasonal changes. The way a material responds to a change in temperature affects its ability to function.

Organic materials are rapidly gaining interest for use in numerous applications (e.g. organic semiconductors, OLEDs). We are interested in understanding and controlling how organic solids respond to temperature changes by controlling the structure of the solid. We are also interested in achieving unique thermal expansion behaviors in solids by incorporating groups that undergo molecular motion in response to temperature, as well as groups that can form new bonds in response to external stimuli, which causes the behavior of the material to change.