Undergraduate Research Program

Quynh Do

Do, Quynh 150x200
Majors: Biochemistry, Chemistry
Mentor: Christine Luscombe, Materials Science & Engineering

Contact: quynhdo@uw.edu

Current research project: Synthesis and C-H Activation of Benzobisoxazole



Translate your work so that we can all understand its importance
For a long time, solar energy has been praised as an excellent alternative form of energy for petroleum fuel. However, the cost synthesis and production of solar cell is too expensive to make it affordable to every household. More specifically, it commonly takes 10-15 steps along with some expensive and toxic chemicals to produce basic solar cell through conventional coupling reactions such as Stille or Kumada coupling. Therefore, C-H activation research has gained attention of scientist around the world as it can potentially combine the monomers to produce polymer without any functional groups. My research focuses on the synthesis of a new benzobisoxazole-based monomer that can potentially perform C-H activation.

What is the most challenging and/or sometimes frustrating aspect of your undergraduate research experience? What did you learn from it?
Since the monomer I am synthesizing now is a totally new compound that has never been made before, sometimes I find it extremely challenging to finish a step in my synthesis. There was this specific step where I was stuck for exactly two months and totally could not move on since the product produced was not enough for the next step. I was frustrated and upset at first since I thought I was not good enough for the research. However, I learn to try different chemicals to make the reaction work.

What advice would you give a student who is considering getting involved in undergraduate research?
The best advice that I can give from my own experience is to try to apply for any available opportunities. When I apply for the Summer Research Programs, I thought I would not get into any of them, but I did. If I can do it, anyone can do it!