Exploring Inorganic Catalysis with Electronic Structure Simulations

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Organometallic catalysis has attracted significant interest from both industry and academia due to its wide applications in organic synthetic transformations. Example of such transformations include the reaction of a zinc carbenoid with olefins to form cyclopropanes. The first project is a computational study using both density functional and correlated wavefunction methods of the reaction between ethylene and model zinc carbenoid, nitrenoid and oxenoid complexes (L-Zn-E-X, E = CH2, NH or O, L = X = I or Cl). It was shown that cyclopropanation of ethylene with IZnCH2I and aziridination of ethylene with IZnNHI proceed via a single-step mechanism with an ... continued below

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Karbalaei Khani, Sarah May 2016.

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  • Karbalaei Khani, Sarah

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Organometallic catalysis has attracted significant interest from both industry and academia due to its wide applications in organic synthetic transformations. Example of such transformations include the reaction of a zinc carbenoid with olefins to form cyclopropanes. The first project is a computational study using both density functional and correlated wavefunction methods of the reaction between ethylene and model zinc carbenoid, nitrenoid and oxenoid complexes (L-Zn-E-X, E = CH2, NH or O, L = X = I or Cl). It was shown that cyclopropanation of ethylene with IZnCH2I and aziridination of ethylene with IZnNHI proceed via a single-step mechanism with an asynchronous transition state. The reaction barrier for the aziridination with IZnNHI is lower than that of cyclopropanation. Changing the leaving group of IZnNHI from I to Cl, changes the mechanism of the aziridination reaction to a two-step pathway. The calculation results from the epoxidation with IZnOI and ClZnOCl oxenoids suggest a two-step mechanism for both oxenoids. Another important example of organometallic catalysis is the formation of alkyl arenes from arenes and olefins using transition metal catalysis (olefin hydroarylation). We studied with DFT methods the mechanism of a novel Rh catalyst (FlDAB)Rh(TFA)(η2–C2H4) [FlDAB = N,N’ -bis(pentafluorophenyl)-2,3-dimethyl-1,4-diaza-1,3-butadiene; TFA = trifluoroacetate] that converts benzene, ethylene and air-recyclable Cu(II) oxidants to styrene. Possible mechanisms are discussed.

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  • May 2016

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  • June 28, 2016, 4:28 p.m.

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  • July 25, 2016, 12:44 p.m.

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Karbalaei Khani, Sarah. Exploring Inorganic Catalysis with Electronic Structure Simulations, thesis, May 2016; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc849685/: accessed December 15, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .