Research in the Barron Group is currently aimed at the development of rational molecular design approach to materials synthesis, with an emphasis on the leap from synthesis to application of nano-based materials. Since 2002, the focus of research within the Barron Research Group has involved the functionalization of fullerenes and single walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs).
Areas being investigated include: biological applications and interactions, catalysis and materials applications. Functionalization of fullerenes as amino acids allows for their inclusion into polypeptides for the development of new approaches to the treatment of flagrant diseases. The development of a catalytic approach for the amplification of SWNTs may be likened to the polymerase chain reaction for DNA and is aimed at the fabrication of specific nanotube structures for energy applications.
Professor Barron created the first educational programs at Rice to span the Schools of Science, Engineering and Management, and is also a co-director of the Rice Alliance for Entrepreneurship. He is also actively involved with educational programs in collaboration with the Rice section of the Society of Automotive Engineers.