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Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Rensselaer Chemistry and Chemical Biology
Leonard V. Interrante
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Leonard V. Interrante

Professor Emeritus, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Ph.D., Inorganic Chemistry, University of Illinois, Urbana, 1963
B.S., Chemistry, University of California, Riverside, 1960

Career Highlights:
Interrante was an NSF Postdoctoral Fellow in London, England at University College. His first teaching assignment came as an assistant professor at the University of California, Berkeley, where he continued for four years. Before coming to Rensselaer in 1985, Interrante spent 17 years at the General Electric Research and Development Center in Schenectady.

He is the founding, and current editor-in-chief of the ACS journal Chemistry of Materials. In 2010, he was named an American Chemical Society Fellow for his ”outstanding achievements in and contributions to materials chemistry.”

Research Areas:
Interrante’s research encompasses a wide range of subjects in materials chemistry, ranging from the synthesis and study of inorganic/organic polymers to the development of molecular and polymeric precursors to solid state inorganic materials. Applications of the latter to the fabrication of ceramic composite materials are also being pursued through connections with Starfire Systems, Inc., a company started in the RPI Incubator Center.

Synthesis and Study of New Inorganic Polymers
Interrante is heavily involved with the synthesis, study, and application of new inorganic polymers, where prior and continuing efforts on ceramic precursors have resulted in the development of a new class of polycarbosilane polymers – the poly(silylenemethylenes) (PSMs), -[Si(R2)-CH2]n-. This new class combines the synthetic and conformational flexibility of such inorganic polymers as the polysiloxanes and polyphosphazines with excellent chemical stability analogous to the polyolefins. Interrante has developed general routes to a wide range of PSMs, having various types of substituents on the backbone Si atoms.

Polymer Precursors to SiC and Other Ceramic Materials
In 1991, Interrante discovered a hyperbranched hydridopolycarbosilane (HPCS) having a “SiH2CH2” formula but with a distribution of Si environments ranging from [Si(CH2-)4]w to [H3SiCH2-]z. This polymer is now being produced commercially in kg quantities and is of wide interest as a precursor to stoichiometric SiC.

This is one of many important structural ceramic materials that are currently under investigation worldwide for applications as coatings, fibers, and matrices for composites. Interrante is also interested in developing low temperature routes employing molecular precursors to various other inorganic materials, including both nonoxides and complex oxides, that are of broad interest in many areas of technology, e.g., electronics.

Chemical Vapor Deposition of Inorganic Thin Films
Interrante has been actively involved for some time in the design, synthesis, and study of volatile molecular precursors for use in the CVD of inorganic thin films, including various oxides, nitrides, and carbides. Recent efforts have focused on AlN and SiC, involving the generation and comparison of various cyclic and linear molecular systems. The goal is to use these as effective CVD precursors for both polycrystalline and epitaxial single crystal films. These materials are of considerable current interest as electronic and optoelectronic materials, as well as for protective coatings in composites.

Fabrication and Study of Ceramic Composites From Organometallic Precursors
Through active collaboration with Starfire Systems, Inc., Interrante is developing routes to ceramic/ceramic composite materials that have broad interest for applications as structural and functional materials in aerospace, industrial, and energy generation applications. Of particular interest has been SiC fiber-reinforced/SiC matrix composites, where hyperbranched hydridopolycarbosilane (HPCS) has been employed as a matrix source, by polymer infiltration and pyrolysis of fiber preforms and by reactive molding of particulate-reinforced mixtures. Interrante is also actively involved in the development and study of fiber coatings for such composites, where both protection of the fiber from oxidation/corrosion during fabrication and use of the composite and the mechanical properties of the fiber/matrix interface are among the issues of particular importance.

Selected Publications:

            (1)        Singh, B.; Hyun, J. Y.; Singh, A. P.; Gandhi, D.; Wu, Z.; Interrante, L. V.; Ramanath, G. "Selective Deposition of a Cross-Linked Low-Permittivity Polycarbosilane on Copper" ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2010, 2, 2180-2184.

            (2)        Interrante, L. V.; Rathore, J. S. "Cyclolinear Polycarbosilanes - a Recent Addition to the Class of Organosilicon Polymers" Dalton Trans. 2010, 39, 9193-9202.

            (3)        Rathore, J. S.; Interrante, L. V. "A Photocurable, Photoluminescent, Polycarbosilane Obtained by Acyclic Diene Metathesis (Admet) Polymerization" Macromolecules 2009, 42, 4614-4621.

            (4)        Day, P.; Interrante, L. V.; West, A. R. "Toward Defining Materials Chemistry (Iupac Technical Report)" Pure Appl. Chem. 2009, 81, 1707-1717.

            (5)        Rathore, J. S.; Interrante, L. V.; Dubois, G. "Ultra Low-K Films Derived from Hyperbranched Polycarbosilanes (Hbpcs)" Adv. Funct. Mater. 2008, 18, 4022-4028.

            (6)        Wang, P. I.; Wu, Z. Z.; Lu, T. M.; Interrante, L. V. "A Novel Polycarbosilane-Based Low-K Dielectric Material" J. Electrochem. Soc. 2006, 153, G267-G271.

            (7)        Hyun, J.; Han, J.; Ryu, C. Y.; Interrante, L. V. "Synthesis of Cyclolinear Poly(Carbosilane)-G-Poly(Methyl Methacrylate or Styrene) Random Copolymers" Macromolecules 2006, 39, 8684-8691.

            (8)        Cheng, Q. M.; Interrante, L. V.; Lienhard, M.; Shen, Q. H.; Wu, Z. Z. "Methylene-Bridged Carbosilanes and Polycarbosilanes as Precursors to Silicon Carbide-from Ceramic Composites to Sic Nanomaterials" J. Eur. Ceram. Soc. 2005, 25, 233-241.


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