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.