Faculty of Science
Research Profile: Jeffrey Ovens, Chemistry
As an undergraduate, Jeffrey Ovens couldn't decide between physics or chemistry, so he did the only logical thing and chose both, enrolling in SFU's Chemical Physics Honours joint major program.
He became involved in some interesting research as an undergraduate, from developing environmentally friendly cathode materials for lithium ion batteries for two co-op terms at E-One Moli Energy (Canada) Ltd. to receiving an NSERC USRA award to study solid state synthesis in ferroelectrics and piezoelectrics in Dr. Zuo-Guang Ye's lab.
He ended his undergrad degree with a research course in Dr. Daniel Leznoff's lab, where he studied a type of material called a coordination polymer, which can be tailored to many different types of properties. He says, "During this term, I explored a new cyanoaurate-based building block, and was able to synthesize new coordination polymer-based materials."
He was then invited to join Dr. Leznoff's group as a master's student. Ovens says, "Because I found him to be a very supportive and involved supervisor in my undergraduate work, and because I bonded well with the other students in the group, I accepted the offer."
He worked on designing coordination polymers toward birefringent properties and says, "I was able to show that adding polarizable halide atoms to the dicyanoaurate(I) building block (currently in wide use in our lab) can enhance the birefringent of coordination polymers containing it significantly."
His work was so remarkable that he subsequently transferred to the PhD program where he continues to design coordination polymers toward birefringence and has also begun a new project, designing coordination polymers toward ferroelectric and piezoelectric properties in collaboration with Dr. Zuo-Guang Ye.
As a graduate student, he's held the Pacific Century Graduate Scholarship, Graduate Fellowships and he's received a travel award to attend the ACS conference in San Diego. Most recently, he's received an NSERC 2012 PGS-D award, valued at a total of $63,000 over three years.
His major publications to date:
- Inorganic Chemistry (2010): The Use of Polarizable [AuX2(CN)2]− (X = Br, I) Building Blocks Toward the Formation of Birefringent Coordination Polymers
- Dalton Transactions (2011) (featured on the cover of Issue 19): "Thermally triggered reductive elimination of bromine from Au(III) as a path to Au(I)-based coordination polymers"
- Dalton Transactions (2012): "Structural organization and dimensionality at the hands of weak intermolecular AuAu, AuX and XX (X = Cl, Br, I) interactions"