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Dr. Graham Bodwell



Department of Chemistry

Memorial university of Newfoundland


Graham Bodwell was born in Epsom, UK, on June 28, 1962. He moved to Canada in 1971 and graduated from high school in 1979. He studied chemistry at the University of Victoria (co-op program) and obtained a B.Sc. (Hons., Co-op) in Chemistry in 1984. His Honours and subsequent M.Sc. research with Prof. Reg Mitchell spawned a lifelong interest cyclophane chemistry. Following the completion of his M.Sc. in 1986, he moved to Braunschweig, West Germany, to conduct doctoral work under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Henning Hopf. Again, his research had to do with cyclophane chemistry. After earning his doctorate (Dr. rer. nat., with distinction), he crossed the Channel to join the group of Dr. Stephen Davies at Oxford University, where worked in the area of asymmetric synthesis. In 1992, he accepted an Assistant Professor position at Memorial University of Newfoundland. Prof. Bodwell was tenured and promoted to Associate Professor in 1997 and then promoted to Full Professor in 2001. His current research interests include cyclophanes, novel aromatic compounds, new materials, inverse electron demand Diels-Alder chemistry, synthetic methodology and the synthesis of natural products and their analogues. Dr. Bodwell is the recipient of the 1998 President’s Award for Outstanding Research, the 1999 Petro Canada Young Innovator Award and the 2005 Merck-Frosst Centre for Therapeutic Research Award.


The VID Reaction in the Synthesis of Substructures and Segments of Armchair Single-walled Carbon Nanotubes – Half Way Around the Bend

Department of Chemistry, Memorial University of Newfoundland,
St. John’s, NL, Canada, A1B 3X7

Single-walled carbon nanotubes were discovered in 19911 and remain the subjects of broad interest. Regardless of their method of production, single-walled carbon nanotubes are obtained as complex mixtures, in which the length, diameter and roll-up motif ((m,n) index, or chirality) are variable. Adjustment of the production conditions can lead to reasonably good selectivity towards electronic type (semiconducting or conducting), but the synthesis of nanotubes with a specific (n,m) index does not appear to be within reach using these methods.

Recently, a bottom-up approach to producing single-chirality nanotubes based on the rational chemical synthesis of small nanotube segments (an end-cap or an aromatic belt) has emerged.2 Our targets are aromatic belts that correspond to “armchair” nanotubes (n=m). The synthetic approach is based upon a valence isomerization / dehydrogenation (VID) reaction that converts [2.2]metacyclophanedienes into pyrene derivatives. Using this methodology, we have synthesized a variety of [n](2,7)pyrenophanes, e.g.1, that feature a nonplanar pyrene system.3 More recently, we have been able to prepare [n]cyclophanes with much larger nonplanar aromatic systems, e.g.2.4 The ultimate goal of synthesizing complete aromatic belts, e.g. 3, has not yet been achieved, but significant progress in this direction has been made.

Bodwell Abstract Pict

1. a) Iijima, S. Nature1991, 354, 56–58; b) Iijima, S,; Ichihashi, T. Nature1993, 363, 603–605.
2. Steinberg, B. D.; Scott, L. T. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed.2009, 48, 5400–5402; Bodwell, G. J., Nature Nanotechnology2010, 5, 103–104.
3. See for example, Cyrański, M. K.; Dobrowolski, M. A.; Merner, B. L.; Bodwell, G. J.; Wu, J.; Schleyer, P. v. R. J. Org. Chem. 2008, 73, 8001–8009.
4. Merner, B. L.; Dawe, L. N.; Bodwell, G. J. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed.2009, 48, 5487–5491.