Update #3: Crystallizing the Complexes

Recently, I have spent a significant amount of time attempting to crystallize my complexes.  This is an important step because crystals are a purer form of the complex and will allow us to analyze the structure and verify that we have synthesized the desired complex.  However, I have only been able to get crystals of one out of my three complexes so far.  The technique I am currently using involves liquid diffusion.  The complex is dissolved in a solvent, then slowly layered on top of a denser solvent in which the complex is not very soluble.  The idea is that as the top layer slowly diffuses into the bottom layer, the complex will become less soluble and come out of solution in crystals.

Outside of my crystallization attempts, I am continuing to perform cyclic voltammetry on the complexes I have synthesized, testing their effectiveness as electrocatalysts for proton reduction.  I have also begun synthesizing two more ligands, with minor differences in molecular structure from the first three.  These will then be complexed with the same transition metal.  The goal is to test and compare all of these complexes to see which is most effective in reducing protons to generate hydrogen gas.  This will provide insight as to how certain molecular differences account for better or worse catalysis.  As for the big picture, these findings will contribute to a growing record of electrocatalysts for hydrogen production as we search for clean energy solutions for the future.