Chemistry and Chemical Biology ETDs

Publication Date

Summer 7-14-2023


Oligomeric Phenylene Ethynylenes (OPEs) are a class of synthetically prepared compounds with the basic structure of phenylene rings connected by triple-bonded carbon atoms, also known as an ethyne link. This structure can be modified by incorporating functional groups onto one or more of the phenylene rings. The addition of functional groups, such as sulfoxide or imidazole, may alter the photophysical properties in detectable ways. The photophysical techniques used in this report include fluorescence, spectroscopy in the ultraviolet and visible light range (UVVIS), and photon-based excitation using a photo chamber.

One attractive function of OPEs is their antimicrobial property. Previously published tests have shown that OPEs with different functional groups inactivate bacteria such as E. coli and damage viral components such as the spike proteins of SARS CoV-2 virus (COVID-19) (1). The method of inactivation is still being explored, but activation following exposure to broad-spectrum light seems to be an important component.

Project Sponsors

Dr. Eva Chi, Dr. David Whitten




Oligomeric Phenylene Ethynylene, UVVIS, Fluorescence, Singlet Oxygen, DLS, Vesicles, Phospholipids, Extrusion, SDS, Blue Shift

Document Type


Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology

First Committee Member (Chair)

Dr. Stephen Cabaniss

Second Committee Member

Dr. Eva Chi

Third Committee Member

Dr. David Whitten