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Research projects in the Rosenberg group
Our current projects focus on organophosphorus and organosilicon chemistry, with emphasis on homogeneous catalysis using transition metal complexes, mechanistic aspects of P-H and Si-H activation, catalytic hydrophosphination, and the synthesis of functionalized oligo- and polysilanes.

Metal-mediated P-C bond formation
We're interested in developing metal catalysts for the efficient, selective preparation of phosphines, which play an important role in fine chemicals synthesis. We have examined the participation of some highly reactive terminal phosphido complexes of ruthenium in addition and substitution reactions of the P-H bond in secondary phosphines. This Ru system has also allowed us to probe "outer-sphere" mechanisms of catalytic hydrophosphination in great detail, identifying critical features for the design of more active catalysts. Recently we have begun to explore the potential of Co and Mo complexes in new types of P-H activation chemistry, with the goal of widening substrate scope in catalytic hydrophosphination chemistry. 


Synthetic routes to functionalized oligosilanes
Methods abound for the construction of organic molecules containing new C-C bonds, but synthetic strategies for incorporating Si-Si bonds are not nearly so well established. We can use metal catalysts to make organosilicon reagents of variable chain length, and then selectively incorporate new side chains via residual Si-H bonds using a Lewis acidic borane catalyst. We have explored the scope of these strategies in the production of new reagents and polymers based on silicon. Recently we also discovered a new thermolytic method for converting linear polysilanes to novel polysilyne materials.



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