Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

MS in Chemistry



First Advisor

Elise G Megehee

Second Advisor

Richard Rosso

Third Advisor

Enju Wang


Research into solar cells has been prioritized given the global demand for better renewable energy technologies. This demand is a result of the long-term use of fossil fuels, which generates significant pollution in highly populated urban areas. One potential solar cell technology is the dye-sensitized solar cell (DSSC). This kind of solar technology utilizes organometallic dyes to expand the types of wavelengths solar cells can use to generate electricity.12 Ruthenium(II) metal complexes of this type have been investigated heavily for this purpose.13,14,36 The main reasoning behind this is the metal-to-ligand charge-transfer (MLCT) phenomenon that such complexes exhibit. MLCT has often been investigated for use in solar cells and sensory molecules.1,2 The objective of this thesis was to synthesize analogs of tris-bipyridine ruthenium(II) using the N-heterocyclic carbene (NHC) ligand 3,3’-dimethyl-1,1’- methylenebisimidazolium (dmmbi). The dmmbi ligand was chosen due to its capacity for π-backbonding with the ruthenium(II) metal center, which significantly alters the stability and electronic properties of the metal complex.27,28 Four complexes in total were to be synthesized as represented by [Ru(bpy)x(dmmbi)3-x](PF6)2, where x ranges from 0 to 3. Three of these four complexes were synthesized successfully and characterized. A new synthetic approach using sodium acetate (NaOAc) as the base was utilized.25 The base is critical for deprotonating the free NHC molecule so that it can coordinate to the metal center. Following synthesis and purification, each complex was characterized. Characterizations included CHN elemental analysis, 1H NMR, 13C NMR, COSY NMR, IR spectroscopy, UV-Vis spectroscopy, and cyclic voltammetry. These characterizations were crucial for analyzing the electronic and optical properties of each complex.