Project descriptionPhotoredox catalysts are photocatalysts that activate compounds by receiving or donating an electron from the substrate to trigger chemical reactions that would otherwise require much harsher conditions, or simply not occur at all. Many such reactions use low catalyst loadings, proceed at ambient temperature, and are amenable to flow processes, thus making them commercially and environmentally attractive. However, a considerable drawback of most existing photoredox processes is the inability of the photoredox catalyst to direct the stereoselectivity of the reaction in the absence of other chiral additives. This project will use computational chemistry to design potent visible-light photocatalysts that retain the advantages of standard photoredox catalysis but with the added ability to intercept and, thus control, reactive intermediates in situ. This will be achieved by using coordinately unsaturated compounds capable of undergoing inner-sphere electron transfer instead of the usual outer-sphere processes. This will be part of an ARC-funded project with the group of Alex Bissember UTas, who will synthesise and test our photoredox catalysts experimentally.
Further informationI have recently joined Flinders University as a member of the College of Science and Engineering. My research group uses both theory and experiment to study chemical reactions, with applications spanning organic synthesis, organometallic catalysis, polymer chemistry and physical chemistry. Students wishing to do computational chemistry projects do not need prior experience in this area.
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