Seminar Series

A Mechanistic Tour of Inorganic Synthesis


Erin Leitao and Ian Manners


School of Chemical Sciences University of Auckland

Time & Place

Wed, 03 May 2017 12:00:00 NZST in Rutherford Room 531

All are welcome


Chemical synthesis across different length scales (from molecules to macromolecules to nanomaterials) has greatly advanced in the past century. The vast majority of this research involves mainly carbon atoms, as ways to link carbon with itself have rapidly expanded, in addition to, significant technological advancements of the various analytical techniques used to characterize the chosen synthetic targets. This has enabled researchers to create, explore the properties of, and commercialize many new products. For example, polymeric materials featuring a long chain of carbon atoms linked together are ubiquitous.1 From textiles, to electronics, to packaging, to banknotes, to structural materials, we see and use these daily. Substituting the carbon atoms with other main-group atoms, such as silicon, nitrogen, phosphorus, boron, oxygen, and sulfur will create molecules and materials with modified properties (e.g. strength, biological activity, flexibility, conductivity, solubility, etc.) giving rise to exciting new applications. Ways to link together main-group atoms are not as well-developed, but are gaining momentum.2 Catalysis is one promising route to new molecules and materials containing non-carbon atoms and has been exploited in the dehydropolymerization of amine-boranes, phosphine-boranes and silanes to form inorganic polymers with N-B, P-B and Si-Si backbones, respectively.2 In this seminar, a tour of inorganic syntheses across three length scales will be discussed, with an emphasis on mechanistic understanding of the various processes involved.