Date of Defense


Date of Graduation




First Advisor

Gellert Mezei

Second Advisor

Andre Venter


An increasing amount of pollution is being released into the Earth’s waterways, causing issues for aquatic organisms and potentially human health. These pollutant anions can be made up of large aromatic groups, which are difficult to remove from the aqueous environments but nanojars could be viable extraction vessels. Nanojars are self-assembling structures of three rings, each composed of repeating units of copper, hydroxide, and pyrazole moieties which encapsulate an anion within their central hydrophilic cavity. They can be represented by the formula [anion⊂{Cu(OH)(R-pz)}n], where R is a substitution on the pyrazole moiety and n is the total number of repeating units between the three rings, usually 27–36. Nanojars are exceptionally resistant to alkaline environments and high temperatures but dissociate in acidic conditions. This makes them great for the recovery of pollutant anions. Anions with large hydration energies such as carbonate are exclusively bound over anions with small hydration energies, contributing to the effectiveness of aqueous pollutant removal.

This research focuses on using phenyl and benzyl substitutions on the 4-position of pyrazole to expand the hydrophobic cavity of the nanojar structure in order to capture large aromatic anions by utilizing the aromatic interactions between the target and the host. The structure will exhibit larger, deeper binding pockets that can accommodate much larger aromatic target anions. Using published synthesis methods, 4-phenylpyrazole and 4-benzylpyrazole were successfully synthesized and nanojars were made using the 4-phenylpyrazole product. It has been found that 4-phenylpyrazole based nanojars are able to capture carbonate, phenylphosphonate, and tungstate anions within its structure as well as yield a Cu36 carbonate nanojar crystal, the largest nanojar structure observed thus far. Cu27, Cu29, and Cu31 carbonate and phenylphosphonate nanojars as well as Cu31 and Cu32 tungstate nanojars were obtained using 4-phenylpyrazole ligands. 4-Benzylpyrazole based nanojar synthesis is ongoing.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Restricted

Restricted to Campus until


Available for download on Friday, June 19, 2026