The Rohde Group synthesizes and investigates reactive transition metal complexes to develop new methods for the activation of small molecules and catalytic functionalization of organic compounds. Specific synthetic targets include i) organometallic complexes that mediate small-molecule activation chemistry, ii) complexes of late transition metals in high oxidation states, and iii) complexes of redox-active ligands.
Activation of Small Molecules by Metal–Alkene Complexes
Molecular oxygen is a much desired oxidant for the functionalization of organic compounds, as it is readily available and inexpensive. The development of selective methods, however, remains a challenging task. In this context, organometallic O2 reactivity is an area of growing interest, because it offers insights into possible oxygenation mechanisms and provides a basis for the design and development of new catalytic methods. We have been investigating the activation of O2 and other small molecules by low-valent Ir alkene complexes. This work has led to the identification of (alkene)peroxo intermediates, where both the oxidant and the substrate are bound to the metal center. Such species are intriguing, because they have been proposed as key intermediates in stoichiometric and catalytic alkene oxygenation.