We are grateful for support from the Donors of the American Chemical Society Petroleum Research for an Undergraduate Research (UR) Grant (2019).
The Zubris group conducts research at the intersection of inorganic, organic and polymer chemistry. We design and synthesize organometallic compounds for use as polymerization catalysts. Study of the structure and bonding for these organometallic compounds is a major focal point for our program. Our long-term goal is to better understand how organic ligand modification affects polymerization outcomes. Past work has focused on catalyst development for coordination polymerization (ethylene and alpha-olefin monomers); current projects are directed towards the use of earth-abundant metal catalysts for polymerization.
Students in the Zubris group gain a wide range of experiences in synthetic chemistry and have the opportunity to explore the relationship between catalyst structure and polymer properties. The preparation of organometallic complexes draws upon fundamentals of organic chemistry, for ligand construction, and inorganic chemistry, for metalation and subsequent reactions. Some of the chemical targets are air-sensitive, providing students with experience in the use of Schlenk and glovebox techniques. Analytical methods such as MS, UV-Vis, FTIR, and NMR spectroscopy, and single crystal X-ray diffraction are utilized to analyze ligands, metal complexes, and polymers.