Robert Ramirez


I was born in Manila, Philippines and lived there until I was 9 years old. My family and I then moved to Nigeria for a brief 1 ˝ year stay, after which we moved to the US in 1982. I graduated from Etiwanda High School, although I spent most of my scholastic years at South Pasadena Elementary Schools, Junior High, and High School. I attended Pasadena City College and received my BS in Chemistry from Cal State LA while doing undergraduate research with Professor Carlos Gutíerrez. I worked on my master’s thesis also under the direction of Professor Gutíerrez on the synthesis and conformational studies of the high-affinity iron-chelator enterobactin. I’m a fourth-year graduate student in Professor J Fraser Stoddart’s research group working on the noncovalent functionalization of single-walled carbon nanotubes (CNTs) with transition-metal based cyclophanes. I am currently investigating the optoelectronic properties and photophysics of functionalized CNTs in collaboration with Professor George Grüner.

I love mountain biking, and spend most of my free time either riding or tweaking my bike(s). I ride all-mountain trails, but lately I’ve been riding downhill, from fast, smooth singletracks to steep, rocky technical trails. I also enjoy snowboarding (as the picture might suggest), hiking, and camping among other things.

Current Research
I am generally interested in supramolecular systems with well-defined architectures that can perform a particular function. My PhD dissertation entails the design and synthesis of transition metal-based cyclophanes that may be used to harness the desirable properties of carbon nanotubes (CNTs). Although they have interesting mechanical and electrical properties for future applications in nanoscale devices, CNTs are notoriously insoluble in most organic and aqueous solvents thus hindering their chemical manipulation. An additional challenge is bulk CNTs are present as a mixture of different lengths and diameters, adhered to each other to form bundles and rope-like structures. I am investigating a series of transition metal-based cyclophanes that can solubilize CNTs. Since the cyclophanes can be designed to have a defined cavity, the hypothesis is they will only self-assemble around CNTs with a complementary diameter. This affords a stable, homogenous CNT suspension that can provide the opportunity for further separation into narrower size distribution. Functionalization of CNTs by the noncovalent approach is attractive, as it does not destroy the electrical properties of CNTs. Also, the cyclophanes can be designed to be readily removed after chemical manipulation of the functionalized tubes. In collaboration with Professor George Grüner’s research group I am currently investigating the optoelectronic properties of this material as it may serve as potential candidate for applications in photovoltaics and solar cells.


G. Grüner Nano-Biophysics Group Homepage | UCLA Department of Physics & Astronomy