Date of Submission

Spring 2013

Academic Program


Project Advisor 1

Emily Mclaughlin

Abstract/Artist's Statement

The structural properties of Dirhodium catalysts consist of a dinuclear core surrounded by four equatorial ligands and two axial ligands. The core is held together by a single Rh-Rh bond. The ‘parent compound’ for the synthesis of these catalysts is dirhodium (II, II) tetraacetate [Rh2(OAc)4], which possesses the highest obtainable symmetry for dirhodium catalysts, D4h symmetry. Dirhodium (II, II) tetraacetate has been used for many types of synthetic reactions that involve ligand exchange. This type of synthetic reaction involves exchanging the acetate ligand with other types of ligands such as carboxylates, carboxamidates, and phosphorus-derived ligands. Dinuclear rhodium (II,II) carboxylate and carboxamidate catalysts are well known and widely utilized for a multitude of synthetic transformations. The synthesis of these two types of ligand will be the focus of this paper. Dirhodium (II, II) Complexes are highly stereoselective for a wide variety of transformations which include C-H functionalizations, cyclopropanation, ylide formation, and decomposition of diazo compounds. To prepare these complexes, rhodium(II) acetate is typically refluxed with the desired carboxylic acid or amide ligand at high temperatures and for long periods of time. This requires removal of acetic acid, using a soxhlet extractor, during ligand exchange and trapping it with sodium bicarbonate. We are exploring an alternative method of dirhodium catalyst preparation using simple microwave irradiation, and shorter reaction time (15-60 minutes).

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