Mechanisms of Molecular Catalysts
Reaction mechanisms in small molecule catalysts can be a black box. Our work in this area couples synthetic chemistry with novel transient spectroscopies and electrochemistry to probe short-lived reaction intermediates. As part of this program, we are developing a temperature-jump transient technique that will allow us to observe catalytic cycles with nanosecond resolution. Currently, we are investigating organic and dual photoredox reactions, with studies on classical transition metal coupling reactions planned.
Renewable Energy for Fossil Fuels
Though alternative energy technologies are increasingly common, fossil fuels are unlikely to disappear altogether in the next 50+ years. We are interested in developing strategies to use renewable energy sources to make oil and gas refining more energy efficient as a stepping stone to full use of renewables. As a starting point, we are investigating the photochemical transformations of refractory sulfur compounds that must be removed at a significant energy cost during the refining process.