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McNair Scholar 2013Tho Nguyen

Tho Nguyen is a senior at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities with a triple major in chemical engineering, chemistry, and mathematics. His research interests include organosulfur chemistry and polymers. Mr. Tho plans to pursue a doctoral in chemical engineering.

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My dream is to study chemical engineering at an advanced level, and to eventually invent useful products for our lives.

Research project

Synthesis and Optimization of Isopropyl Xanthic Anhydride:
Reactions of Potassium Isopropyl Xanthate with Ethyl Chloroformate

Abstract: Potassium isopropyl xanthate reacts with ethyl chloroformate to give S-ethoxycarbonyl O-isopropyl dithiocarbonate, which reacts further with xanthate to give isopropyl xanthic anhydride (iPrXA). To optimize the yield of iPrXA, the reaction is run for 1 hour in an ethanol:water (3:2) solvent mixture. Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS), and melting point determinations are used to identify compounds and analyze experiments. The product's characteristics include 1H NMR: 5.74 (septet) and 1.45 (doublet); GC-MS: 238 m/z (10.53 min); mp: 52-54 oC (same as literature). Download poster. [PDF]

Faculty profile

George Barany is currently a Distinguished McKnight University Professor at the University of Minnesota. Prof. Barany attended The Rockefeller University where he received his Ph.D. in biochemistry in 1977. His research interests include peptide synthesis, protecting groups for organic functionalities, the chemistry of thiols, disulfides and polysulfanes, functionalization of soluble and insoluble polymers, and mass spectrometry. He has published more than 350 papers and reviews, many of which have been highly cited. Among his honors and awards are listing in "America's 100 Brightest Scientists under 40" in 1984, the Vincent du Vigneaud Award in 1994, a Distinguished McKnight University Professorship in 1997, and the Ralph F. Hirschmann Award in Peptide Chemistry in 2006.