Cerium (Ce) is the only rare earth metal that forms stable tetravalent complexes in solution. Owing to the facile Ce(IV/III) redox couple, cerium-containing compounds and materials have been widely used in organic oxidations and heterogeneous catalysis. Despite their diverse applications, the reaction chemistry of oxidizing Ce(IV) compounds has not been well explored and the mechanism by which Ce(IV) compounds oxidize organic substrates is not well understood. In this project, Ce(IV) compounds with oxygen-donor ligands such as oxo and alkoxides will be synthesized, and their reactivity toward organic substrates will be studied. The mechanism of the oxidation of X-H (X = C, N, O) bonds by Ce(IV) compounds will be elucidated.
The applicant will work with a postgraduate student to synthesize and characterize cerium complexes and investigate their reactions with organic substrates.
The applicant should have knowledge of inorganic chemistry.
Upon completion of the project, the applicant will be able to
(i) manipulate air-sensitive compounds using vacuum line and glove box techniques
(ii) synthesize simple organic and inorganic compounds
(iii) characterize organic and inorganic compounds