Dr. Anna Larsen's Research Students Present at the 251st National American Chemical Society Meeting in San Diego, March 2016

Chemistry major Benjamin Morse ('17) and biochemistry major Megan Wirth ('16) presented their research during the ACS Undergraduate Research Poster session at the ACS National Meeting on March 14th.

Benjamin Morse: Synthesis and investigation of dinuclear rhodium pincer complexes as catalysts for alkyne dimerization

Abstract: Pincer complexes are of interest in modern chemistry as they have been reported to perform a variety of catalytic functions, including stereoselective alkyne dimerization. POCOPiPrRhHCl (complex 1) was previously synthesized and found to be catalytically active for stereoselective alkyne dimerizations. In order to investigate how changes to the substituents on the phosphorus donor atoms affect the stereoselectivity of the dimerization, the synthesis of the POCOPPhRhHCl complex was attempted. Single crystal diffraction studies on the product showed that a novel dinuclear rhodium pincer complex (complex 2) was formed, rather than the expected mononuclear analog of complex 1. An altered synthetic route leads to another unique dinuclear rhodium complex which was also characterized using single crystal diffraction techniques.These new dinuclear complexes are tested for catalytic reactivity. Further synthetic investigations involving changes of heteroatoms in pincer ligands will be discussed.

This poster also presented work of IC alumnus Max Klemes ('14), now a graduate student at Cornell University.

Megan Wirth: In pursuit of a novel ruthenium carborane catalyst: A novice organometallic chemist report in poster and video format

Abstract:This presentation will address the results of the ten-week undergraduate summer internship in organometallic research lab. The project pursued the synthesis and characterization of novel ruthenium cyclopentadienyl nitrosyl electrophilic complex stabilized by weakly-coordinating carborane anion (complex 1). Such complexes are expected to possess valuable catalytic properties for small molecules binding and activation - for example in olefin polymerization reactions. The synthesis of the complexes involved protonation with super-acid reagents (shown below). Various derivatized carborane anion salts were tested to optimize isolation of the air-sensitive super-acid reagent, used in synthesis of the target complex. Concurrently, a series of instructional videos were produced for organometallic laboratory techniques, such as dry box and Schlenk line operations. Other basic experimental procedures, such as titration and extraction with a separatory funnel, were also developed. The videos served as a personal learning tool and will act as teaching aids for students, both in curriculum labs and research. The research results and the video material will be presented.

With over 158,000 members, the American Chemical Society is the largest scientific society in the world. Each year the Department of Chemistry sends exceptional student researchers to an ACS national meeting. Students consistently rank this trip as one of the most significant learning experiences during their time at Ithaca College.