Research in Chemistry
Summary of Projects
My group's research focuses on the interaction of borane clusters with transition-metal complexes. We have observed that a tungsten complex promoted the growth of triborane to pentaborane. Molybdenum sits above tungsten in Group 6, but the molybdenum complex does not promote cluster growth; perhaps the triborane is bonding to the complex. We are also exploring the reaction of sodium borohydride with molybdenum and tungsten complexes. (Will the complexes promote cluster growth, or will the borohydride anion bind to the metals?) Students will be introduced to inert-atmosphere synthesis and multi-nuclear NMR spectroscopy.
High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) and Inductively Coupled Plasma-Atomic Emission Spectroscopy (ICP-AES) can be performed together for the separation and detection of organometallic compounds that are potential hazards to humans. A series of compounds that lend themselves to analysis by HPLC-ICP are organotin compounds. The degree of toxicity varies among the compounds. The trisubstituted compounds in general are the most toxic followed be the di- and monoorganotins. These compounds have many practical applications that include being used as pesticides, fungicides, catalysts and stabilizers for polymers. Methods will be developed for a consistent analysis of these types of compounds.
Two projects are available. The first involves the synthesis of mercury containing compounds resembling metabolites that are known to bind to enzymes. These newly synthesized compounds are then to be examined as to their structures by utilizing NMR techniques and are also to be examined as to their binding to enzymes by studying the effect of their concentrations on the activity of selected enzymes. The second project involves the development of an analytical technique to determine the concentration of a commonly used non-ionic detergent. This detergent is normally utilized in the isolation of proteins from biological membranes. The methodology will also employ NMR in aqueous solutions to quantify the concentrations of the detergent under various buffer conditions.