Investigating the mechanisms of iron catalyzed organic transformations
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Transition metal containing organometallic catalysts play a vital role in the transformation of organic compounds derived from petroleum resources into value added products. Qatar, in particular, with its vast natural gas and oil reserves stands to benefit from the development of new and more efficient metal catalysts. In this project, the authors intend to study the mechanism of photochemically initiated hydrogenation and hydrosilation reactions using earth abundant iron metal based catalysts. The primary aim in this study is to detect and study the reactivity of intermediates formed during these reactions on short (microseconds) and longer timescales with a view towards a complete evaluation of the mechanistic details. Another goal is to bind some of these metal catalysts to a solubilized polymer support and to investigate the differences in the identity and reactivity of the intermediates generated in the homogeneous and heterogeneous model systems. The intent then is to obtain fundamental information regarding the photochemistry of these molecules to better understand the factors that influence their catalytic activity. This project is a joint effort between Texas A&M University at Qatar and the National University of Singapore. The work is divided according to expertise. Thus, experiments involving time-resolved spectroscopy will largely be conducted in Qatar whereas the synthetic work, determination of overall catalytic efficiency and selectivity, and theoretical modeling will be performed in Singapore.