Sadow Group work is focused upon the development of new catalytic reactions and new catalysts for application in green chemistry, stereoselective synthesis, and the conversion of abundant raw materials into commodity and specialty chemicals. This work impacts energy sciences and chemical production. Our approach involves the design and study of main group, early transition-metal, and rare earth organometallic compounds as catalysts for transformations of polar, oxygen- or nitrogen-containing substrates. We study structure and reactivity through a combination of spectroscopy and kinetics to better understand catalytic reactions, the chemical properties that make a good catalysts, and to design new transformations.

  • CpBZr

    Amine synthesis is industrially important, from the energy-intensive but highly impactful production of ammonia, to pharmaceutical molecules. Commercial amine manufacturing often involves multistep processes to build C–N bonds, whereas the addition reaction of amines and olefins can provide new amines in a single step. Additional efficiencies may be realized with control over proximal or vicinal stereocenters. A number of challenges face hydroamination catalysis, both in terms of understanding mechanism of highly efficient catalysts and developing new stereocontrol.

  • SmR2carbene-render3

    We have been synthesizing rare earth and main group alkyl compounds as catalyst precursors and as catalysts in their own right. Unlike many transition metal complexes, main group and rare earth alkyl compounds containing β-H atoms (i.e., M–C–C–H) often resist β-H elimination that leads to metal-carbon bond cleavage.

  • ToMMgH2Bpin

    We have developed a number of magnesium and zirconium catalyzed processes that begin to overcome the limitations of these oxophilic metal centers.

    For example, a magnesium complex is an effective catalyst for the reduction of esters through hydroboration. The catalyst is proposed to involve a magnesium hydridoborate ToMMgH2Bpin, which is crystallographically characterized and shown above. The catalytic system is selective for esters vs. olefins, nitro groups, nitriles, and heteroaromatics.