Richard Tarkka


Manion 201C

(501) 852-5137

Richard Tarkka specializes in Organic Chemistry and he currently teaches the sophomore two semester course in that area (2401/3411).

Our first project is the polymerization of electron-deficient conjugated aromatic alkynes, such as 2-ethynylbenzothiazole. The resulting polymers will be analogs of poly(phenylacetylene). We believe they will have interesting electrical and optical properties. It is also possible that the monomers might dimerize to form conjugated enynes, which are highly useful because of their bioactivity and their use as functional materials. Students working on this project will be trained to: make organic compounds and purify them with column chromatography; independently run UCA’s high field NMR; and analyze samples with other techniques, such as GC-MS and UV spectroscopy.

Our second project is a collaboration with Dr. Kari Naylor of the UCA Biology Department. Together with her students, we are analyzing honey samples from a variety of floral and geographic sources for their antimicrobial properties against seven microbes identified by the CDC as having problematic antibiotic resistance. We are correlating the antimicrobial properties of each sample with its unique NMR fingerprint. This should help us determine the relative importance of various compounds to the honey’s antimicrobial behavior. We should eventually be able to predict the antimicrobial properties of honey from its NMR fingerprint. Students working on this project will have the opportunity to be trained to: independently run UCA’s high field NMR; prepare and evaluate samples for antimicrobial assays; learn statistical methods, such as principal component analysis.




Syllabi for Courses Taught

Organic Chemistry I: Tarkka, CHEM 2401, Spring 2019

Organic Chemistry II: Tarkka, CHEM 3411, Spring 2021