Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Willem R. Leenstra

Second Advisor

John M. Hughes


Measurement and mapping of the pressure distribution across the surface of a suitably scaled model is an integral step in the design of any aircraft or automobile. For this purpose, the traditional workhorses of the aeronautic and automotive industries have been pressure taps--small orifices that contain electronic pressure transducers. Unfortunately, in addition to the limited spatial resolution achievable with such devices, their technical complexity and cost constitute serious disadvantages. For more than 35 years, researchers have pursued a fundamentally different alternative: indirect measurement of pressure via oxygen-induced quenching of the luminescence emitted by certain chemical species. Porphyrin complexes of dipositive palladium and especially platinum have emerged as one of the principal classes of oxygen-sensitive luminophores; ruthenium(II) polypyridyl complexes comprise another. Various other metals also form luminescent coordination complexes that are susceptible to quenching by O2, however, and these too have contributed to the diversity of luminophores that are now available for incorporation into pressure-sensitive paints and related films and coatings.

After treating the photophysics of luminescence quenching by molecular oxygen and quantitative descriptions of this phenomenon in the ideal case and in heterogeneous media, the thesis presents a comprehensive survey of the chemical literature on oxygen-sensitive luminophores. Efforts to prepare and characterize a novel porphyrin-pillared mixed zirconium phosphonate are then detailed. Following complexation of Pt(II) ions by the porphyrin moieties, this material is expected to display oxygen-sensitive luminescence and should ameliorate such difficulties as luminophore aggregation and matrix photodegradation that are associated with many existing pressure-responsive coatings. Its preparation necessitated preliminary formation of a porphyrin functionalized with two phenylphosphonic acid groups, which was obtained by synthesizing dipyrromethane and diethyl 4-formylphenylphosphonate and condensing these two precursors. The mixed phosphonate, a layered material assembled from ZrOCl2 · 8H2O, methylphosphonic acid, and the aforementioned porphyrin, was then prepared in refluxing HF. Solid-state 31P NMR spectra and powder X-ray diffraction patterns were acquired for the final product, its estimated interlayer spacing of 22.8 Å figuring prominently in analysis and discussion of the X-ray data.



Number of Pages

176 p.