"When Two are Better than One: Bifunctional Catalysts that Move Protons for Organic Chemistry and Energy"
Nature’s enzymatic catalysts often rely on exquisite control of proton transfer or hydrogen bonding to accelerate reactions. Synthetic catalysts can benefit in a similar manner, helping reactions which enzymes cannot accomplish. Our laboratory focuses on metal complexes with ligands containing bases or their conjugate acids, starting with bifunctional systems with one pendant organic group to help the metal during catalysis, but more complex systems can be imagined. Rate accelerations of as much as 1,000 to 10,000 have been achieved thanks to pendant bases. In this presentation, both published and ongoing work from our group in the areas of catalysis for organic synthesis and energy will be discussed.
Short Bio: Doug Grotjahn studied at Reed College, worked 1.5 years at Syntex, then studied at UC Berkeley with K. P. C. Vollhardt. He received an NSF-NATO fellowship to work with K. H. Dotz in Germany. He started his independent career at Arizona State and moved in 1997 to SDSU, where he has been Professor since 2002. Current research areas are (electro)catalysis of water oxidation, with emphasis on creating new ways of determining catalyst stability, so that we can improve molecular catalysts, and organometallic catalysts for selective transformations of alkenes and alkynes. Current funding is though DOE and NSF.