About Us

We study transition-metal-containing systems. Why? 

 Transition metals serve as active sites for a wide range of biologically and industrially important reactions. We certainly cannot survive without functioning metalloproteins, which constitute ~1/3 of all proteins, and many of chemical engineering products that we use on a daily basis are also obtained from organometallic catalysis.

 We focus on the mechanistic elucidation of transition-metal-containing catalysts and the determination of electronic and geometric structural factors that govern the reactivity of the catalysts. This will provide insights to develop optimized catalysts.

How do we do it?

 We use various spectroscopic techniques that allow direct monitoring of transition-metal active sites over the course of reactions. Magnetic circular dichroism (MCD) spectroscopy collects differential absorption of left- and right-circularly polarized light in the presence of a strong magnetic field (up to 7 T). This allows us to probe metal-based electronic transitions, which are often forbidden or low resolution in the conventional electronic absorption spectroscopy, and magnetic properties such as exchange coupling and zero-field splitting parameters.

 Electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy measures the energy required to flip an electron spin in a given magnetic field, the extent of which also provides electronic structural information on paramagnetic species (i.e., magnetic shielding from spin-orbit coupling).

 Nuclear resonance vibrational spectroscopy (NRVS) probes the vibrational side bands of a Mossbauer transition (usually on 57Fe). Using this technique, all the Fe vibrations can be selectively observed without interferences from solvents or protein backbones. This vibrational information is useful to determine the geometric structure of transient species. 

 Spectroscopic data obtained are used to evaluate density functional theory computations and computational methodology/models validated thus are used to visualize frontier molecular orbitals and to build reaction coordinates.