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Endless road!

Pure love!

I have to admit that I thought that writing my dissertation will be a little bit easier and much more enjoyable. Anyways, here I am trying to tie some nonsense together and not loosing the hope that there’s an end. I reckon that I have just chosen the longest way and I have many things to improve.

I have been reading some others people thesis and their stuff is just copy, paste and, perhaps, paraphrase sentences from papers – fair enough?! I have to admite that I do it some times as well. Nevertheless, you cannot have more than 80 % of your work like that.

I always thought that people studying a PhD in a high-level graduate program would have the ability to write in an innovative way. Therefore the ideas that you’re reading in papers is result of good control over the knowledge of the topic to be discussed. However, it seems to me that writing has turned into a robotic and crafty process of communicating “concepts and ideas”.

The good thing is that there’s still people trying to find ways of innovation on how to communicate scientific problems and concepts. Of course, there’re always many risks and the chances to make mistakes are massive. Nevertheless, someone must make the first move and someone else must be there, not to only point what is wrong, but as well to discuss and encourage new attempts!

Waiting in IstanbulWriting a thesis has resulted a very challengin task  with some rewardingish periods. In theory the writing process should be more efficient and faster because I am just editing and extending previous scientific reports. However, I am pretty doubtful of being more competent at settling down my thoughts, and even worse at doing it at a convenient speed.

I consider that I have improved a little bit at how to structure the message that I want to deliver – of course, this is just a self-reflection on my work! Maybe, I am writing short statements with more simple structure, which could be taken as a sign of improvement on writing skills. For instances, I can attribute the observed enhancements because of  self-editing exercises after finishing each sections. Thus, the implemented methodology demands large and frequent text analysis sessions.

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The writing style has become considerably much better by fragmenting the text into pieces. As a consequence, writing speed has been affected by the implementation of such approach. In my case,  bullet point and 5WH techniques have been chosen as   Although, the quantities of pages produced per day is not the optimum  the combination of both writing approaches have considerably benefited coherence structure of each section. 


Dancing sequin

I have made the decision to get deeply into the history of organic-based materials with electrical properties. I consider that reading about how discoveries where made or even how some projects have failed is a double win-win situation.

One of the reasons is that being aware of how scientists address fundamental questions, raised before and after a scientific discovery has been made, gives you a better picture of at what extent your scientific project can have an impact on the field. Another motivation, maybe the most important for me, is that you can know a little bit of the personal life of the people behind amazing and exciting findings.

I am posting some facts that I have been collected in my personal notes for the first part of the thesis:

First scientist involved in the study of conductive organic polymers (before the discovery of metallic conductivity in polyacetylene):

  • Donald Weiss on polypyrrole
  • René Buvet and Marcel Jozefowicz on polyaniline.
Origin of macromolecular phenomena in polymers and the advances in saturated polymers:
  • Hermann Staudinger developed the concept of macromolecules during the 1920s. Staudinger was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1953 “for his discoveries in the field of macromolecular chemistry”
  • Wallace Carothers invented nylon in 1935.
  • Flory published in 1953 his book: Principles of Polymer Chemistry. Nobel prize 1974.
  • Ziegler and Natta were awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1963 “for their discoveries in the field of the chemistry and technology of high polymers”
  • Professor Bengt Eanlay dessignated electrically conducting polymers as the “fourth generation of polymeric materials

Cool wise men

The story concerns a young hunter who, in his youth, heard about the great white bird of “absolute truth” which lived at the very top of a high mountain far in the east. He had spent all his life seeking it without success – and now he was growing old.

The old thin hands cut the stone ill and jaggedly, for the fingers were stiff and bent. The beauty and strength of the man were gone. At last, an old, wizened, shrunken face looked out above the rocks. He saw the eternal mountains still rising to the white clouds high above him. The old hunter folded his tired hands and lay down by the precipice where he had worked away his life.

I have sought,” he said, “for long years I have labored; but I have not found her. By the rough and twisted path hewn by countless others before me, I have slowly and laboriously climbed. I have not rested. I have not repined. And I have not seen her; now my strength is gone. Where I lie down, worn out, other men will stand, young and fresh. By the steps that I, and those before me, have cut, they will climb; by the stairs that we have built, they will mount. They will never know those who made them, their names are forgotten in the mists of time. At the clumsy work they will laugh; when the stones roll, they will curse us; but they will mount, and on our work they will climb, and by our stair! They will find her, and through us!”

The tears rolled from beneath the shriveled eyelids. If truth had appeared above him in the clouds now, he could not have seen her, the mist of death was in his eyes.

…Then slowly from the white sky above, through the still air, came something falling … falling … falling. Softly it fluttered down and dropped on to the breast of the dying man. He felt it with his hands –

– it

was –

– a feather.

In the year of 2000, the Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded jointly to Alan G. MacDiarmid, Alan J. Heeger, and Hideki Shirakawa “for the discovery and development of conductive polymers”.As part of the ceremony, every one of the Nobel laureate gives a lecture after accepting the prize; a medal and a diploma. Professor MacDiarmid has given one of the most emotive lectures ever in the history of this ceremony. The last transparencies given in his Nobel lecture contents a very emotional message and can be read in the official website of the Nobel Prize. The complete lecture given by Prof. MacDiarmid can be found in physically in a book or streaming the video from the official website of the Nobel Prize. See a Video of the Nobel Lecture I think, I have liked this story because I find myself identifying with the hunter. Almost four years of hard work and frustrations that seems to have absorbed all my energies and motivations for staying in academia. A unfruitful academic process that has lasted the wink of a an eye.


The final draft of the outline of my thesis is ready. So, I will try to keep myself focus on the writing of my dissertation from today to the 31st of July. The structure of the thesis was defined by using the 5WH technique for brainstorm and research.  My personal aim will be to elucidate why/how bad practices in the lab can make a research project fail. Besides, I will show that sometimes organic reactions are not for everyone and for everything.

Let’s plan a thesis!


This is the first of many random and nonsense entries – I hope so!- about the planning process of my thesis and some papers. Why to do this? Simple, I am excited to have a register of the evolution of this process. And one day look back at it and see how much I have done: enjoying the plot and not the conclusion of it! Besides, I am motivated by the advice I’ve got after having long chats with various friends of mine that have graduated recently and with the idea to avoid though times after seeing the stressy days my colleagues are going through at the last stage of their PhDs.

I am, kind of, one year ahead before my funding ends so I reckon better start than at the last minute – So, Let it role then!


Some ideas for the content of my thesis:

  1. Control over morphology
  • Bottom up approach:
    • Templates

An example of DNA as template of conductive polymers: DNA -based nanowires . Towards bottom-up nanoscale electronics

    • Using biomolecules
      • Covalently attached
      • As additives

Flowchart: Using MestReNova to Process, Analyze  and Report 1D NMR

Using MestReNova to Process, Analyze and Report 1D NMR. This flowchart is based on the following presentation:

A Tutorial for Chemists: Using Mnova to Process, Analyze and Report 1D and 2D NMR on Your Desktop

The Oligomer Approach

The Oligomer Approach

The discovery of optoelectronic properties analogous of PANI shown by aniline oligomers, such as tetra(aniline) (TANI) and octa(aniline) (OANI), has presented new opportunities to tackle the aforementioned issues.9,10,11 Recently, our group has reported preparation of thin films of phenyl/phenyl capped oligo(aniline)s in the emeraldine base (EB) and conducting emeraldine salt (ES) states following a drop‑casting method using THF as solvent.5,13 Amorphous films for oligo(aniline)s in the non‑conductive EB state were determinate by X‑ray studies. However, crystalline thin films for the same oligo(aniline)s in the fully doped conducting ES state were produced in the same fashion. The observed lamellar structure for films in the ES state has been attributed to the ionic‑interactions present between the dopant and the oligo(aniline) molecule.

Furthermore, this so‑called oligomer approach has demonstrated to be potentially useful for the understanding of optoelectronic properties of PANI. For example, a recent study of a range of TANI‑based molecules has provided important information to support a redox mechanism suggested for poly(aniline)s.14,15 To clarify the effect of minor modifications into their π‑conjugated backbone of phenyl/phenyl TANI on their optoelectronic properties differential pulsed voltammetry (DPV) and UV/vis investigations were performed. For instance, the electrochemical studies have provided experimental information to support an electron‑electron and electron‑chemical mechanism‑coupled reaction stated for the redox switching properties shown by aniline‑based materials. Besides, the UV/Vis absorption spectra obtained from THF solutions point to the possibility of tuning optical properties thought covalent modification of π‑conjugated oligo(anilines)s.

(9)    Wang, Y.; Tran, H. D.; Kaner, R. B. Macromolecular rapid communications 2011, 32, 35–49.

(10)    Wang, Y.; Liu, J.; Tran, H. D.; Mecklenburg, M.; Guan, X. N.; Stieg, A. Z.; Regan, B. C.; Martin, D. C.; Kaner, R. B. Journal of the American Chemical Society 2012, 134, 9251–9262.

(11)    Wei, Z.; Faul, C. F. J. Macromolecular Rapid Communications 2008, 29, 280–292.

(12)    Gmbh, C. W. V.; Sessler, J. L.; Sathiosatham, M.; Doerr, K.; Abboud, K. A. 2000, 1–9.

(13)    Wei, Z.; Laitinen, T.; Smarsly, B.; Ikkala, O.; Faul, C. F. J. Angewandte Chemie (International ed. in English) 2005, 44, 751–6.

(14)    Shao, Z.; Rannou, P.; Sadki, S.; Fey, N.; Lindsay, D. M.; Faul, C. F. J. Chemistry – A European Journal 2011, 17, 12512–12521.

(15)    Heinze, J.; Frontana-Uribe, B. A.; Ludwigs, S. Chemical reviews 2010, 110, 4724–4771.


Here my first mindmapping attempt about structure-conductivity relationship for aniline-based materials.  The final conductivity of the material can be explained in terms of mobility of charge along a pi-conjugated segment and charge hopping process. These two process are affected by crystalline defects in the supramolecular structure of the material. Previous reports have shown that an increase in crystallinity have produced an increase in conductivity. Different strategies have been proposed to enhance the crystalline structure of Poly(aniline)-based materials such as using dopant agents that present ionic interactions with the backbone-chain of the polymer. These secondary interactions lead to self-organization of the molecules in films with long-range structure.

Keep you posted to this entry for new versions!


I am just coming back from holidays, one week around the Southwest of England and another one entire week in London. One of the main spots in the capital was the British library, full of treasures such as the , nevertheless the charming behind the algebra notes by Da Vinci, I would like to highlight the exhibition: Out of this World, Science fiction but not as you know it.

This exhibition, plenty of books and magazines, offers a way to look at the world and exploring alternative ideas about science, society, future and the nature of reality itself. I’ve just been quoting the description from the leaf-hand that I got in my visit. However, the thing that came across my mind was how many scientists have gotten involved in science or even developed exciting projects or found revolutionary discovers because of science fiction.

In my case, the first reason I get involved in the field of conductive polymers was a novel written by Philip K. Dick. One of the main questions that rise across the whole story is what does a human being meant to be? What does it different from androids?

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