Nearly one-third of the United States Gross National Product is based on chemical manufacturing. This industry relies on the invention of new chemical reactions to remain competitive. In this project, Professor Valerie Schmidt of the University of California San Diego (UCSD) contributes to our national competitiveness through the design of new chemical reactions that produce valuable products. The new synthetic reactions have the potential to be used to make new drugs, agrichemicals, and polymers. The specific theme of the research is to develop new ways to convert carbon-carbon double bonds to 4-membered rings called oxetanes and azetidines. Her research group is developing methods that use the copper salts as "photocatalysts" for these conversions. The research investigates the influence of the copper salts, the starting materials, and the other reagents on the efficiency of the reaction to produce products. The research group of Professor Schmidt trains future scientists by providing hands-on training in the laboratory. Particular emphasis is placed on students from backgrounds that are under-represented in science. The project also provides science education to K-12 students in San Diego County.
With funding from the Chemical Catalysis Program of the Chemistry Division, Professor Valerie Schmidt of the University of California San Diego is developing new methods for the selective activation of alkenes to synthesize 4-membered heterocycles such as oxetanes and azetidines using a combination of transition metal catalysis and light. The overall methodology represents a new perspective on the time-honored but complicated Buchi-Paterno reaction. Overall, the research program has the potential to impact the efficiency of the synthesis of pharmaceuticals and other simple chemical building blocks. The development of the new chemical reactions requires a thorough understanding of the coordination chemistry of the copper(I) precatalysts. The researchers are testing the mechanistic hypothesis that metal to ligand charge transfer (MLCT) is a key step in the [2+2] cycloaddition. The project aims to describe a general catalytic reaction through methodical modification of the substrate-catalyst system and analyze the products using multiple spectroscopic methods. The project could broadly impact the synthetic utility of metal-alkene complexes. Professor Schmidt trains future scientists by providing hands-on training with a myriad synthetic and spectroscopic tools. Particular emphasis is placed on including students from backgrounds that are under-represented in science. The project also provides science education to K-12 students in San Diego County using pop-culture entry points.
This award reflects NSF?s statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation?s intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.