This award provides funding to support planning visits to the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The PI and his Malaysian collaborator, Dr. Sim, are chemists who share an interest in computational chemistry, applied particularly to organometallic structures. The trips will allow Prof. Pratt to plan collaborative work on copper alkylates and to lay the groundwork for a continuing collaboration between Fisk University and the University of Malaya, including perhaps a future IRES program for U.S. students. The specific focus of the initial collaboration will be copper alkylates with Dr. Sim undertaking experimental work and Dr. Pratt implementing computer simulations of molecular structure and transitions states in reaction mechanisms.
This planning visit aims to establish an international collaboration in both research and education in topics related to organometallic chemistry. The results of the work on lithium cuprates should advance knowledge of mechanisms of conjugate addition to unsaturated carbonyl compounds. These materials are of practical as well as theoretical interest because of their use as semiconductors, light-emitting diodes, and catalysts. Coming from a Historically Black university, and working with a female professor in Malaysia, the PI is establishing programs that have a significant impact on human-resource development in science. This project will contribute significantly to the scientific engagement of NSF grantees in Malaysia.