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Paul Deck

Associate Professor
Prof. Paul Deck against Hokie Stone background
2101 Hahn Hall South
  • Lab Phone: 540-231-8246

Research Interests

Fluoropolymers are an important and steadily growing category of synthetic organic polymers. We make highly fluorinated aromatic polymers using new synthetic methods that we develop in our laboratories. These polymers have truly unique structure and are expected to provide a range of materials with useful physical and chemical properties. Current projects include:

  • Synthetic methodology for monomers,
  • Polymer synthesis and characterization, and
  • Fluorous nanomaterials.

Recently we have embarked on a project to develop the chemistry of strong carbon acids.  C-H bonds are not ordinarily considered acidic bonds, but of course that depends on their structural context.  We are trying to push the boundaries of C-H acidity using cyclopentadiene chemistry.  So far we have produced a derivative having a pKa of -6, and we believe we can reach much farther using new strategies that we are developing presently.  Current objectives include:

  • Synthesis of highly acidic cyclopentadiene derivatives,
  • Measurement of carbon acidity using F-19 NMR spectrometric techniques, and
  • Applications of carbon acids in lithium battery electrolyte formulations.
  1. "Perfluoroaryl-substituted Cyclopentadienyl Complexes of Transition Metals." P. A. Deck, Coordination Chemistry Reviews, 2006, 250, 1032-1055.
  2. “Synthesis of 2-substituted hydroquinone derivatives from 1,4-benzoquinone and allyl ethers.”  K. J. Kaurich and P. A. Deck.*  Tetrahedron 2018, 74, 2191-2196. 
  3. “Regioselective, Nucleophilic Activation of C-F Bonds in o-Fluoroanilin­es.”  S. E. Hough; W. R. Hargrove, Jr., and P. A. Deck*. Journal of Fluorine Chemistry, 2019, 224, 141-126.
  4. In situ dispersion and polymerization of polyethylene cellulose nanocrystal-based nanocomposites.”  K. D. Hendren, T. W. Baughman, P. A. Deck*, and E. J. Foster* Journal of Applied Polymer Science 2019, 137, 48500.
  • Jimmy W. Viers Faculty Teaching Award, Virginia Tech Chemistry Department, 2020
  • Certificate of Teaching Excellence, Virginia Tech College of Science, 2018
  • E. Ann Nalley Award ACS Regional Service Award, 2011
  • Alan F. Clifford Faculty Service Award, Virginia Tech Chemistry Department, 2007
  • National Science Foundation Career Award, 1999
  • Research Corporation Cottrell Scholarship, 1998
  • B.S. Summa Cum Laude, Hope College, 1987
  • Ph.D. University of Minnesota, 1993
  • NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Northwestern University, 1992–1995