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Katarina Sumerli


My name is Katrina Sumarli and I am student at Hillsdale College in Michigan. After I complete my B.S. in Chemistry, I plan to pursue a PhD. This summer, I am working in Dr. Gudmundsdottir’s lab researching the photochemistry of vinyl azides with graduate student Dinindu Mendis. Organic azides are highly sensitive, explosive compounds that are used in many things including airbag inflation, as reactants in a myriad of organic reactions, and in click chemistry. My work focuses on elucidating the mechanism using transient spectroscopic techniques and understanding the observed photomechanical behavior of the vinyl azide crystals after irradiation. I am comparing two similar azido derivatives that are only distinguishable by para substituents. We employ a variety of spectroscopic techniques including Laser Flash Photolysis, cryogenics, X-Ray Diffraction, and a high-powered optical microscope among other things. Pairing this with gaussian calculations, where we can model the crystal lattice structure and various interactions, we are able to understand the photochemistry of our azide and the corresponding photoproduct, azirine

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