Date of Award


Degree Name



College of Science

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

William Price

Second Advisor

Michael Castellani

Third Advisor

Leslie Frost


Dendrimers are hyper-branched macromolecules with unique properties. They form using a “cascade-like” synthesis involving repetitive reaction steps. These steps are controlled, resulting in monodisperse dendrimers. Synthesis is divergent, core to exterior, or convergent, exterior to core. Dendrimers are created from various molecules with numerous functional properties. They are used as catalysts, diagnostic agents, and others.

This thesis studies 1st generation poly(propylene) imine, consisting of a diaminobutane core with 4 propyl amine branches. Fragmentation of protonated and metal (Co, Ni, Cu and Zn) complexed dendrimers was analyzed by ion-trap mass spectrometry. Two isotopically labeled dendrimers were synthesized for neutral loss identification and possible fragmentation mechanisms.

Protonated dendrimer fragments through substitution mechanisms. Similar fragments are identified in metal complexes, but the dendrimer is coordinated in a specific geometry with the metal and elimination mechanisms dominate. Fragmentation schemes for all complexes are presented. Neutral mass losses are compared and unique fragments discussed.


Fragmentation reactions.