Description: The diversity of transition metal complexes allows for a wide range of chemical processes to be mediated by the metal, from catalysis to surface chemistry. Investigations into the structure and electronic configuration of transition metal complexes allow for tuning of desired species by modifications to the ligands and/or metals to achieve more efficient thermodynamics and kinetics for the process of interest. Transition metals, often used in catalysts for a number of important processes, require detailed descriptions of intermediates, transition states and products to fully characterize a reaction mechanism(s) in order to design more active and efficient catalysts. Computational investigations into inorganic catalysts are explored with the aim of understanding the activity of each species and how modifications of supporting ligands, co-ligands and metals vary the interaction along the reaction pathway. Reported results give important insight into the development of the most active complexes in addition to determining the least active complexes to aid experimental development. This report first investigates the mechanisms of two unique transfer reactions: 1) formation of low coordinate nickel-nitrene ((P~P)Ni=NR; P~P = 1,2-bis(dihydrophosphino)-ethane or 1,2-bis(difluoromethylphosphino)-ethane) complexes as catalysts for nitrogen atom transfer and 2) oxidation of a triphosphorus niobium complex, [(η2-P3SnPh3)Nb(OMe)3], for the transfer of the phosphorus synthon, Ph3SnP3. These reactions have utility in the synthesis of nitrogen and phosphorus containing molecules, respectively, and the results presented provide mechanistic insight into the synthesis of the organometallic intermediates. Additionally, a computational approach towards rational catalyst design was performed on the ruthenium based hydroarylation catalyst TpRu(CO)(Ph) [Tp = hydrido-tris(pyrazolyl)borate]. Targeted modifications at the Tp, metal and co-ligand (CO) sites were studied in order to tune the electronics and sterics of the catalyst. Modifications, through computational methods, provided a more cost- and time-efficient way to study the impact of modifications, which provided direct input into attractive synthetic targets. The research ...
Date: August 2011
Creator: Morello, Glenn
Item Type: Thesis or Dissertation