About the Seminar
This talk will introduce the rational design of next-generation redox-active molecules for sustainable use-inspired applications. We describe the synthesis and activity of specially-designed redox organocatalysts for the electrochemically-driven recycling of ester plastics and mechanistic studies on molecular analogues, and demonstrate the first examples of molecularly-catalyzed redox depolymerization reactions. We additionally describe our studies towards sorbents for the capture of carbon dioxide from dilute sources such as air. We show the electrochemical generation of organic nucleophiles (C and O-nucleophiles), with a focus on chemical species known to rapidly capture CO2 under cathodic conditions, and that release the bound CO2 under anodic conditions. We first introduce the thermodynamics of redox-reactive CO2-binder chemical space for electrochemical reactive capture and release of CO2 by electrochemically-generated nucleophiles. We then use this thermodynamic understanding to guide the synthetic development of new robust redox-reactive media for the capture of CO2 from dilute sources that take advantage of the beneficial bulk properties of ionic liquids and the well-established redox chemistries of reduced quinones. We conclude with recent studies on use of temperature as a means to control the potential of electrochemical reactions and discuss implications in the context of development of electrochemical synthetic methods.
About the Speaker
Oana Luca is a graduate of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (BS ’08) and Yale University (MS ’10, PhD ’13) where she worked with Professor Robert H. Crabtree. Her postgraduate work in inorganic and physical organic chemistry at Caltech in the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis and the Scripps Research Institute addresses applications of electrochemical methods for the synthesis and interconversion of chemical species in organic reactions. This work has direct applications to battery, fuel cell and solar device designs as well as electrosynthetic methods for functionalization of organic compounds. Her scientific interests span a wide range of research fields from the engineering of devices for energy production and storage, to molecular orbital interactions in surface science, to electrochemical applications in organic synthesis, carbon capture, polymer recycling and in operando assessments of product distributions.