11/09/16 - 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Special Seminar: Professor Alexander Miller
"Cation-Responsive Pincer-Crown Ether Complexes for Tunable Catalysis"
Catalyst performance is often regulated by substrate binding to a transition metal center, but control over substrate binding remains elusive. We are harnessing interactions between molecular catalysts and their environment to control organometallic catalysis. Incorporating a crown ether macrocycle into a robust pincer ligand enables the donor properties of such “pincer-crown ether” ligands to be tuned through cation-macrocycle interactions. Mechanistic studies of the dynamic interactions be- tween catalysts, cations, and substrates provide an emerging picture of how cations can tune ligand substitution, oxidative addition, and migratory insertion in catalysis.
Research in Professor Miller's group revolves around transformations relevant to global energy concerns, including the storage of solar energy in chemical fuels, proton-coupled electron transfer reactions, and hydrocarbon transformations. His group's approach starts with the design and synthesis of transition metal catalysts, then shifts to examining catalyst performance with a focus on understanding reaction mechanism in order to inform catalyst improvements. Those catalysts feature multifunctional ligands: beyond simply supporting the metal center, the ligands position additional functionality in the secondary coordination sphere of the metal and work in concert with the metal center to enhance key steps in catalytic cycles.