There are two main areas of research being pursued at present: (i) coordination chemistry of new multidentate mixed-donor ancillary ligands, and (ii) activation and functionalization of molecular nitrogen.
Because the reactivity of a metal complex can be fine-tuned by the ligands that surround the metal, it becomes important to examine new kinds of ligands and ligand combinations. Our tridentate ancillary ligand (PNP) incorporates both the "hard" amide donor and the "soft" phosphine ligand to generate a unique environment capable of binding to most elements in the periodic table. We have expanded the scope of this combination of nitrogen and phosphorus-containing ligands by preparing a macrocyclic version (P2N2) and a variety of other tridentate systems. Because of the backbone flexibility and the variations possible in substituents, these donor combinations allow us to modulate the metal complex's reactivity and examine these systems in the catalytic mode.
As all of this research involves the manipulation of air- and moisture-sensitive materials, researchers in this laboratory have access to state-of-the-art inert atmosphere workstations.
KEYWORDS : nitrogen fixation, ligand design, transition metal chemistry, lanthanides, homogeneous catalysis, polymerization.