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William Dichtel


B.S.: MIT 2000
Ph.D.: UC-Berkeley 2005
Postdoctoral: UCLA & Caltech (joint), 2005-2008


Robert L. Letsinger Professor of Chemistry

Research Statement

We use the tools of synthetic and supramolecular chemistry to develop structurally precise organic materials. Projects in the Dichtel Group involve organic and polymer chemistry, solution and solid-state characterization, nanofabrication, and the comprehensive testing of newly discovered materials.

Current application areas of interest include materials for water purification, energy storage, polymers that are tough yet repairable, the detection of explosives, the rational design of two-dimensional polymers, and the interaction of nanostructured materials with biological systems.

Selected Publications

β-Cyclodextrin Polymer Network Sequesters Perfluorooctanoic Acid at Environmentally Relevant Concentrations. (Leilei Xiao, Yuhan Ling, Alaaeddin Alsbaiee, Chenjun Li, Damian Helbing, and Willaim R. Dichtel), J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2017, 139 (23), pp 7689-7692.

Rapid removal of organic micropollutants from water by a porous β-cyclodextrin polymer. (Alaaeddin Alsbaiee, Brian J. Smith, Leilei Xiao, Yuhan Ling, Damian E. Helbling, and William R. Dichtel), Nature, 2016, 529, 190–194.

Mechanically Activated, Catalyst-Free Polyhydroxyurethane Vitrimers. (David J. Fortman, Jacob P.Brutman, Christopher J. Cramer, Marc A. Hillmyer, and William R. Dichtel), J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2015, 137, 14019–14022.

Improve undergraduate science education. (Stephen E. Bradforth, Emily R. Miller, William R. Dichtel, Adam K. Leibovich, Andrew L. Feig, James D. Martin, Karen S. Bjorkman, Zachary D. Schultz, and Tobin L. Smith), Nature, 2015, 523, 283 – 284.

Real-time, Ultrasensitive Detection of RDX Vapors Using Conjugated Network Polymer Thin Films (Deepti Gopalakrishnan and William R. Dichtel), Chem. Mater., 2015, 27, 3813-3816.

Mechanistic Studies of Two-Dimensional Covalent Organic Frameworks Rapidly Polymerized from Initially Homogenous Conditions. (Brian J. Smith, and William R. Dichtel) J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2014,136, 8783-8789.

Preservation of antibody selectivity on graphene by conjugation to a tripod monolayer. (J. A. Mann, T. Alava, H. G. Craighead, W. R. Dichtel), Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2013, 52, 3177-3180.

Highly efficient benzannulation of poly(phenylene ethynylene)s. (H. Arslan, J. D. Saathoff, D. N. Bunck, P. Clancy, W. R. Dichtel), Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2012, 51, 12051–12054.

Internal functionalization of three-dimensional covalent organic frameworks. (D. N. Bunck and W. R. Dichtel), Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2012, 51, 1855-1859.

Multivalent binding motifs for the noncovalent functionalization of graphene. (J. A. Mann, J. Rodríguez-López, H. D. Abruña, and W. R. Dichtel), J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2011, 133, 17614–17617. 

Oriented 2D covalent organic framework thin films on single-layer graphene. (J. W. Colson, A. R. Woll, A. Mukherjee, M. P. Levendorf, E. L. Spitler, V. B. Shields, M. G. Spencer, J. Park, and W. R. Dichtel),Science 2011, 332, 228-231.

Lewis acid-catalysed formation of two-dimensional phthalocyanine covalent organic frameworks. (E. L. Spitler and W. R. Dichtel), Nature Chem. 2010, 2, 672-677.

Selected Honors/Awards

  • Blavatnik Award for Young Scientists (2020)
  • Finalist, Blavatnik Award for Young Scientists (2019)
  • Akron Local Section Award, American Chemical Society (2018)
  • Research Corporation Frontiers in Research Excellence and Discovery (FRED) Award (2018)
  • Guggenheim Fellowship (2018)
  • Crain’s 40 under 40 in Chicago Business (2017)
  • Leo Hendrik Baekeland Award (2017)
  • Finalist, Blavatnik Award for Young Scientists (2017)
  • Arthur K. Doolittle Award (2016)
  • MacArthur “Genius Grant” (2015)
  • Visiting Miller Professor, UC-Berkeley (2015-16)
  • Kavli Frontiers Fellow (2015)
  • Kavli Emerging Leader in Chemistry, American Chemical Society (2015)
  • Inaugural BASF Innovation Lecturer, University of Tokyo (2014)
  • Polymer International / IUPAC Award for Creativity in Polymer Science (2014)
  • Phi Lambda Upsilon / ACS National Fresenius Award (2014)
  • Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award (2013)
  • Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award (2012)
  • Beckman Young Investigator (2012)
  • Research Corporation Cottrell Scholar (2012)
  • Sloan Research Fellowship (2012)
  • 3M Nontenured Faculty Award (2010-2012)