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Research in the Bruch Lab will leverage synthetic, physical, and analytical chemistry to interrogate (electro)catalytic reactions with the goal of demystifying the factors that control catalyst activity, selectivity, and optimization. In turn, we will use these insights to develop predictive tools to guide catalyst design, reaction discovery, and reaction optimization.

Researchers in the Bruch Lab will develop a mixture of skills in synthetic chemistry, electrochemistry, spectroscopy (e.g. NMR, IR, UV-Vis), single crystal X-ray diffraction, and density functional theory. Additionally, researchers will master techniques for investigating reaction mechanisms as well as thermodynamics/kinetics and correlating these physical parameters with reaction outcomes.

Cooperative Platforms

How do catalysts containing multiple reactive sites work in concert to activate strong bonds? Control highly reactive intermediates?

We will answer these questions by developing new ligand platforms capable of controlling the interaction between multiple transition metal or main group reactive sites. Our platforms are inspired by both nature and materials, and will be designed to allow us to decouple through-space and through-bond effects on catalyst activity and function.

Modular Ligands

Is it possible to translate ligand-directed selectivity between different catalytic transformations? What are the underlying structure-function relationships?

To answer this question, we will develop ligand platforms that can be easily modified prior to initiating catalysis in a one-pot, two-step approach. These modular ligands will allow us to rapidly screen the influence of directing group and ligand tether on product selectivity. Additionally, our approach will enable us to easily scale our findings to new transformations and ligand architectures. 


 What physical and experimental parameters influence optimal reaction conditions in electrosynthetic reactions?

We will seek to identify the underlying principles that influence the outcome of empirical optimization of electrosynthetic reactions. In turn, we will leverage this understanding to develop predictive tools that will guide our efforts to solve classically difficult reactions in catalysis (electrochemical, thermal, and photochemical) as well as the development of new transformations.

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