NSF Funds Development of C-X Bond Forming Reactions with Copper
The NSF’s Sustainable Chemistry, Engineering, and Materials (SusChEM) Program addresses the interrelated challenges of sustainable supply chains, engineering, production, and environmentally benign use of chemicals and materials by design.
Catalytic bond formation reactions with earth-abundant metals are necessary for environmentally sustainable syntheses of commodity chemicals, alternative syntheses of natural products, as well as anthropogenic pharmaceuticals. The SusChEM Program has funded Professor Linda Doerrer and her group to develop new C-X bond forming reactions with the earth-abundant metal, copper. Developing new reactions for chemical bond formation requires considering not only the desired product, but all the products formed, the energy balance of the process, as well as the overall environmental cost. Earth-abundant metals are excellent candidates for new bond forming processes.
In previous work, the Doerrer group developed a new family of molecules with the sustainable metals Fe, Co, Ni, and Cu. The metals contained ligands that are effectively teflon-coated with fluorinated groups that make them highly resistant to the decomposition reactions that can affect non-fluorinated molecules. The group made two unexpected and exciting discoveries with Cu that provide an understanding for common reactions forming C-C, C-O, and C-N bonds which they are pursuing this NSF project. The overall impact of this work is to provide an improved understanding of materials and methods for synthesizing high value carbon-based compounds for numerous high-demand applications.