ACS Petroleum Research Fund LogoKate Waldie recently received the American Chemical Society (ACS) Petroleum Research Fund (PRF) Doctoral New Investigator (DNI) Award for her proposal entitled “Noble-Metal Reactivity at Cobalt: Using Redox Active Ligands to Promote Multi-Electron Transformations”. This two-year award is funded in the amount of $110,000.

The transformation of carbon feedstocks from petroleum into valued-added chemicals requires selective bond activation and construction, and is at the heart of chemical industry. Mediating these transformations using catalysts based on earth-abundant first-row transition metals requires control over their two-electron redox behavior, but these metals typically prefer one-electron radical pathways. By designing metal complexes containing a redox-active ligand that functions as a two-electron reservoir, first-row metals such as cobalt can mimic the redox reactivity of more expensive noble metals.
This award will support ongoing work in the Waldie Group that aims to establish structure-activity relationships between the redox-active ligand properties and the accessibility of two-electron redox behavior, and to understand how the electronic structure of these systems underpins their reactivity toward the activation of organic substrates. These fundamental studies will be applied to help advance new catalyst designs based on redox-active ligands and first-row metals for multi-electron organic reactions.

The Petroleum Research Fund was originally established as a Trust by seven major oil companies in 1944 and has been managed by the American Chemical Society since 2000. ACS is charged with supporting “advanced scientific education and fundamental research in the petroleum field”. The ACS-PRF Doctoral New Investigator (DNI) grants provide start-up funding for scientists and engineers in the United States who are within the first three years of their first academic appointment at the level of Assistant Professor or the equivalent.