An In-Depth Look at Charge Separation in Fe-doped Ti-MOFs

An In-Depth Look at Charge Separation in Fe-doped Ti-MOFs

Efficient photocatalysis for solar energy applications requires materials that exhibit long lived charge separation and reversible electron transfer behavior of the catalytic sites. Metal–organic frameworks (MOFs) are attractive because different active metal centers are readily incorporated in well-defined positions. As discussed in their Chemical Communications paper (link), the Lockard group has gained important new insights on the specific role of Fe3+ sites in Fe-doped Ti-based MOF materials. Fe K-edge XAS analysis confirmed the coordination site geometry while time-resolved optical and X-ray transient absorption (XTA) studies revealed the role of Fe as an electron trap site, promoting long-lived photo-induced charge separation in the framework.

ROMP-Boranes as New Polymeric Catalysts

ROMP-Boranes as New Polymeric Catalysts

Organoboranes serve as powerful Lewis acid catalysts in diverse organic and organometallic transformations. However, high loadings and multistep syntheses have limited broader implementation of tailor-made organoborane derivatives. In their communication in JACS (link), postdoc Fernando Vidal and graduate student James McQuade from the Jäkle group offer a new approach to polymer-supported Lewis acids via ring-opening metathesis polymerization (ROMP). Examining the reductive amination of aldehydes, they demonstrate high activity at very low loadings and facile catalyst recovery.

Advances in Thiamine Enzymes Reviewed

Advances in Thiamine Enzymes Reviewed

 

An article in Comprehensive Natural Products III: Chemistry and Biology summarize advances made in the Jordan lab over the past decade. Both former and current group members involved in the work over the past decade are co-authoring the article entitled “An Update on Developments in the Field of Thiamin Diphosphate-Dependent Enzymes.” (Jordan Frank, Nemeria Natalia S., Balakrishnan Anand, Chakraborty Joydeep, Guevara Elena, Nareddy Pradeep, Patel Hetal, Shim Da Jeong, Wang Junjie, Yang Luying, Zhang Xu and Zhou Jieyu). Link

Undergraduate Researchers Contribute to 3 Publications on X-ray Crystal Structure Analyses

Undergraduate Researchers Contribute to 3 Publications on X-ray Crystal Structure Analyses

Professor Lalancette has published 3 new papers with undergraduate co-authors on the crystallographic characterization of coordination complexes, including Mn(IV) and Mn(V) complexes (link) and an unusual Co(III) complex (link) which took oxygen from the air and reduced it to a bridging peroxo ligand (shown). Of note is also that the department has recently been awarded an NSF grant to upgrade the X-ray facility, offering new and enhanced capabilities for single crystal X-ray structure determination of a wide range of materials.

Highly active Pd-NHC catalysts discovered by the Szostak group

Highly active Pd-NHC catalysts discovered by the Szostak group

 

The Szostak group in collaboration with the Nolan and Poater groups reported a new class of NHC-Pd(II)-chloro dimer catalysts (iScience 2020, 23, 101377, Cell Press). These catalysts are the most reactive Pd(II)-NHC catalysts developed to date. The exceptional performance of [Pd(NHC)(m-Cl)Cl]2 catalysts could accelerate applications in the synthesis of medicines, organic molecules, and polymers. These air- and bench-stable catalysts are commercially available from several suppliers. The manuscript is available open-access at this link.

Assistant Teaching Professor Sobers Shares Experiences in C&E News

Assistant Teaching Professor Sobers Shares Experiences in C&E News

 

A recent article in the April 27 2020 issue of Chemical & Engineering News features comments by Courtney Sobers, offering insights into her experiences with the General Chemistry laboratories and Organic Chemistry classes at Rutgers University-Newark. Entitled “Testing an ‘ungrading’ approach” the article discusses methods to take away some of the grade pressures that students experience at the time of COVID-19. As Sobers points out an effective approach that also encourages student learning is to give students credit for working together in small groups to develop, discuss, and justify grading rubrics after an exam. Previously, in an article in the Science magazine, Sobers discussed the importance of seeking anonymous feedback from teaching assistants in large laboratory classes.

Graduate Student Chengwei Liu Wins Prestigious Awards

​​Graduate Student Chengwei Liu Wins Prestigious Awards

 

Chengwei Liu from the Szostak group has won the 2020 IPMI Student Award, a prestigious recognition by the International Precious Metals Institute (IPMI) bestowed annually on a graduate researcher working with previous metals. His is recognized for his work on the metal-catalyzed decarbonylative cross-coupling of amides and carboxylic acids. The award involves a $12,000 stipend along with an invitation to the annual conference in Las Vegas. Chengwei joins a select group of previous winners from some of the most prestigious Universities in the country and around the globe. His accomplishments, which are documented in 17 publications, have also recently been recognized with a Chinese Government Award for Outstanding Students Abroad by the Consulate General of China in New York. Among the 38 winners each year typically only one has a background in organic chemistry. Congratulations to Chengwei on these remarkable achievements!

Honors for ACS SEED Summer High School Students

Honors for ACS SEED Summer High School Students

 

A student from East Orange Campus High School, Maria Gutierrez won the Honorable Mention Award in the Chemistry Category at the North Jersey Regional Science Fair (NJRSF) competition. Top winners from the NJRSF move on to the Intel International Science & Engineering Fair (ISEF), which is one of the most prestigious high school Science Fairs in the world. Maria was one of only three students in the Chemistry Category to win an award this year. The project Maria presented was related to her research in the Jaekle lab and was entitled “Polymerization of Boron-Modified Phenyl Norbornene Monomers.”

 

Frank Peprah, a senior at Irvington High School, won a coveted ACS Project SEED Scholarship. Among the 15 Universities he was admitted to Frank selected Amherst College to attend this coming Fall. Frank pursued a project on the “Microwave-enabled Rapid Fabrication of Enzyme-Inspired Single-Atom Electrocatalysts” in the He lab over the past summer.

Both Maria’s and Frank’s projects were part of the annual Summer Experiences for the Economically Disadvantaged (SEED) Program sponsored by the American Chemical Society. Congratulations to Maria and Frank on these wonderful achievements!

Chemistry Graduate Wins Highly Competitive Dissertation Award

Chemistry Graduate Wins Highly Competitive Dissertation Award

Guangrong Meng has won the 2020 Outstanding Dissertation Award by the Rutgers Graduate School-Newark. While pursuing his PhD in the Szostak group, Dr. Meng discovered new amide N–C bond cross-coupling reactions (e.g., Suzuki, decarbonylative Heck, C-H arylation) that have received worldwide attention and greatly stimulated progress in the field. His PhD work is published in an impressive 29 research papers, 16 of them as a first author! At present, Dr. Meng is a postdoctoral fellow in Prof. Yu’s group at Scripps Research Institute. Congratulations on an outstanding thesis and a well-deserved award!

Making Boron Macrocycles Even More Electron-Deficient

Making Boron Macrocycles Even More Electron-Deficient

π-Conjugated macrocycles are fascinating, not only because of their beautiful structures but also the unique properties that they display. When boron is embedding into the conjugated framework, extensive delocalization of the LUMO can be observed. In a recent publication in Angewandte Chemie, graduate student Nurcan Baser-Kirazli from the Jäkle group reports a new macrocycle that is unprecedented in terms of how closely spaced and electron-deficient the boron centers are. Strong electronic communication between the borons gives rise to a very low-lying LUMO, which is a prerequisite for acceptor materials in organic electronics. The macrocycle also binds to small anions, such as cyanide, and interacts with aromatic solvents to form emissive exciplexes.

Chemistry Masters Student and Her Employer’s Contributions to Fighting COVID-19

K Ageliki - Prokopchuk Group

Ageliki Karagiannis, a M.S. student at Rutgers-Newark, also works at Lanxess in Perth Amboy, NJ. As a Quality Control Lab Technician, she and her co-workers are responsible for monitoring and testing the production of polymers that are used in respirator and surgical masks (link). She is currently completing her final year M.S. research project in Professor Prokopchuk’s group, where she is developing new organic compounds for applications in chemical energy conversion.

Helical Peptides as Molecular Dipoles for Semiconductor Band Gap Tuning

Helical Peptides as Molecular Dipoles for Semiconductor Band Gap Tuning

In a collaboration with the Bartynski group in the Physics Department at Rutgers-New Brunswick, Professor Galoppini and her students demonstrate that helical hexapeptides act as efficient surface dipole layers that allow for highly effective semiconductor band gap engineering. Graduate student Yuan Chen anchored the hexapeptides to TiO2 with either a carboxylic or an isophthalic acid (ipa) group at the C-terminus. As discussed in their JACS publication, the presence of the peptide molecular dipole in a mixed monolayer shifts the HOMO levels of coadsorbed zinc porphyrin (ZnTPP) chromophores down by ∼300 meV, in accord with a parallel plate capacitor effect.

New Insights into Werner’s Coordination Complexes Featured on the Cover of Acta Cryst. C

New Insights into Werner’s Coordination Complexes Featured on the Cover of Acta Cryst. C

When reexamining some of the cobalt complexes that ultimately led to Werner’s Nobel prize winning theory of coordination compounds, Professors Lalancette and Bernal discovered an additional, different type of crystal not previously disclosed. The purple crystals harvested from the mixture correspond neither to the violet cis- nor the green trans-forms of [CoCl2(en)2]Cl, but contain both isomers in one and the same unit cell!  Sharing the same elemental analysis, the proper assignment would have been exceedingly difficult back in 1893, when X-ray crystallography was yet to be developed as a tool for structure analyses, and even before X-rays were found by Roentgen in 1895. Link

New Review on C-H Activation

New Review on C-H Activation

The activation of C–H bonds is among the fundamentally most important chemical transformations. In the highly prestigious ACS journal Chemical Reviews Professor Szostak and coworkers, jointly with Professor Nolan at Ghent University in Belgium, provide a comprehensive overview of C–H activation methods promoted by N-heterocyclic carbene (NHC)–transition metal complexes. They also discuss how newly developed NHC complexes play a crucial role in forging carbon–carbon and carbon–heteroatom bonds.

Chemistry Major Admitted to Prestigious Graduate Programs

Chemistry Major Admitted to Prestigious Graduate Programs

Chemistry major Daniel Pyle, a McNair, LSAMP and MBRS scholar and member of the Honors College, has been accepted to fully-funded Chemistry PhD programs at Yale University, University of California-Berkeley, Columbia University, Northwestern University, University of Chicago, and Johns Hopkins University. As an undergraduate researcher at Rutgers University-Newark, Daniel had explored new synthetic organic pathways in the labs of Professor Szostak and in the summer of 2019 investigated polymeric materials as a research fellow at Yale. Congratulations to Daniel!

Chemistry Graduate Open House on Friday, November 1, 2019

LSC Side view

The Rutgers-Newark Graduate Chemistry Club will host its annual open house on Friday, November 1st at 5:00pm. Prospective M.S. and Ph.D. students are encouraged to attend. The program includes short presentations about specific research opportunities, a poster session, and a tour of the facilities used by the Department of Chemistry. For additional details, please see this flyer.

Physical Chemistry Faculty Position

rutgers logo

The Department of Chemistry invites applications for a tenure track assistant professor position in the area of Experimental Physical Chemistry to start September 2020. Full details of the position and how to apply can be found at the Rutgers Employment Site.

 

Professor Michal Szostak awarded prestigious Outstanding Investigator Grant

NIH logo

Professor Szostak, a recently tenured faculty member in the Chemistry Department at Rutgers-Newark, has secured a prestigious "Outstanding Investigator Grant" from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIH-GMS). Under this award his research group will develop new transition metal-catalyzed reactions of carboxylic acids to access important building blocks for pharmaceuticals. Over the project period of 5 years the grant is projected to total $ 1,888,682.

New Publication From The Jäkle Group

Jaekle, Frieder -TOC News

Professors Frieder Jäkle and Roger Lalancette teamed up with postdoc Fernando Vidal and LSAMP student John Gomezcoello to study Lewis pairs as dynamic crosslinks in polymer networks. Their results, recently published in JACS (link: https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/jacs.9b07452), demonstrate that the manipulation of the binding strength between arylborane Lewis acids and amine Lewis bases dramatically impacts the mechanical properties of the networks and offers opportunities for applications as self-healing materials and reprocessable elastomers.

New Book: Amide Bond Activation

Amide Book - Prof Szostak

Michal Szostak has edited a new book in which experts in the field describe key advances in amide bond activation processes. These methods deliver valuable insights into functional group interconversion and the functionalization of amides on a fundamental level. The book is available free-of-charge at Amide Bond Activation Book.

Fei Zhang Joins the Department of Chemistry in September 2019

Fei Zhang

 

In September, Fei Zhang began as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry. Her research is focused on understanding how biological molecular building blocks self-assemble into nanoarchitectures with structural complexity and functional diversity.

Mikhail Solovyev Wins a DOE Science Graduate Student Research Award

Mikhail Solovyev Wins a DOE Science Graduate Student Research Award

Ph.D. student Mikhail Solovyev, a senior member of the Lockard group, won a Department of Energy award to support his electrocatalysis studies at the Argonne National Lab. The aim of his project is to gain molecular-level insights into mechanisms of hydrogen evolution reactions and carbon dioxide reductions catalyzed by porous hybrid materials. Read more about the award and the research in this recent story.

Award Competition: Herbert C. Cheung Scholarships, Anna and Bernard Senkowski Scholarships

RU-N logo

Each spring, the Chemistry Department runs an award competition open to all chemistry majors currently enrolled at Rutgers-Newark. To be eligible, a student must be a declared chemistry major by April 25 of this year. Award winners are selected based upon the evaluation of grade-point average, financial need, and two letters of recommendation. To be considered, students should go to the SASN Scholarship portal and submit an application by April 26, 2019.

Demyan Prokopchuk Joins the Department of Chemistry in January 2019

Demyan Prokopchuk

In January, Demyan Prokopchuk began as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry. His research interest involve inorganic and organometallic chemistry, focusing on catalysis and renewable energy using abundant transition metals. Specific projects feature synthesis, ligand design, catalysis, bond activation, mechanistic studies, and structural analysis.

Chemistry Graduate Open House on November 2, 2018

LSC Front View

The Rutgers-Newark Graduate Chemistry Club will host its annual open house on Friday, November 2 (5:00pm - 7:30pm). Prospective M.S. and Ph.D. students are encouraged to attend. The program includes short presentations about specific research opportunities, a poster session, and a tour of the facilities used by the Department of Chemistry. For additional details, please see this flyer.

New Environment-Friendly Routes to Amides from the Szostak Group

New Environment-Friendly Routes to Amides from the Szostak Group

Guanchen Lin and Michal Szostak have developed new methods for the direct conversion of esters to amides and for transamidation reactions of amides. These new protocols for amide synthesis are highly selective, remarkably mild, and require no transition-metal catalysts. Their Nature Communications article includes more than 75 demonstrated reactions spanning a broad range of substrates, along with mechanistic studies.

Student Report to Published Review: Conversion of Carboxylic Acids to High-Value Olefins

Student Report to Published Review: Conversion of Carboxylic Acids to High-Value Olefins

Graduate Student Xu Zhang's extensive report for Dr. Szostak's Topics in Organometallic Chemistry course served as the essential basis for a review article published in Organic Chemistry Frontiers. The work recounts and analyzes the recent surge in transition-metal catalyzed decarbonylation reactions to produce linear α-olefins with high yields and good selectivity from bio-renewable carboxylic acids.

Diferrocenyl-Hg-Bridged Diphosphine: A Chiral, Ambiphilic, and Redox-Active Bidentate Ligand

Diferrocenyl-Hg-Bridged Diphosphine: A Chiral, Ambiphilic, and Redox-Active Bidentate Ligand

Alain C. Tagne Kuate, Roger Lalancette, Thomas Bannenberg (University of Braunschweig), and Frieder Jäkle teamed up to prepare a new transition metal ligand with unprecedented bonding features, leading to a variety of useful properties. The announcement of their communication closely coincides with a milestone in Prof. Jäkle's Angewandte Chemie publication record, captured in a revealing author profile.

N-Acyl-Glutaramides: New, Versatile Cross-Coupling Agents

European Journal Orgo Chem

Guangrong Meng and Michal Szostak have published a fascinating account of the recent surge in interest surrounding the use of N-acyl-glutaramides in a broad range of cross-coupling reaction types. Their comprehensive review, featured on the cover of the European Journal of Organic Chemistry, describes the mechanistic rationale, synthetic utility, and computational aspects of this N-acyl-glutaramide reactivity.

2018 Gordon Research Conference on Electron Donor-Accepter Interactions

Gordon Research Conf

Elena Galoppini (Rutgers-Newark) and David Beratan (Duke) are co-chairing the next GRC Electron Donor-Acceptor Conference. Running from August 5-10, the meeting will be held at Salve Regina University in Newport, Rhode Island. This year, the conference topic is Electron Flow: From the Molecular to the Global Scale. Applications to attend the meeting should be submitted well before the posted July 8 deadline.