This award in the Chemical Synthesis (SYN) program in the Division of Chemistry at NSF supports a project by Professor Jeremy Smith from the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at New Mexico State University to carry out fundamental studies aimed at uncovering new reactivity of high-valent iron complexes. The project involves the use of tris(carbene)borate ligands to prepare novel iron(IV) complexes and the use of a range of simple transition metal carbonyl and nitrosyl complexes to systematically probe their electronic structures. The project is interdisciplinary in nature and involves synthetic inorganic chemistry, a variety of spectroscopic techniques, and the measurement of magnetic properties.
The project could lead to the discovery of new reactivity patterns in iron(IV) complexes of potential relevance to nitrogen fixation (i.e., the conversion of atmospheric nitrogen to derivatives that can be assimilated by living organisms). In addition, this project will provide excellent interdisciplinary training of students, from undergraduate to post-doctoral, including those from groups historically underrepresented in the sciences.