Taming Highly Reactive Reagents

Carbanions are highly reactive reagents. However, they can be stabilised by smart molecular design to open up new areas of application.

Negatively charged carbon compounds, so-called carbanions, are typically highly reactive compounds that may react very violently with air and moisture. Therefore, special protective measures are required for their safe handling. However, the high charge also results in a boast of reactivity and thus in unique properties. This makes them attractive, highly effective reagents, which are also used on an industrial scale in organic synthesis. Due to their intrinsic reactivity, they are usually only produced as an intermediate step and are rarely used as isolated substances. Through smart molecular design, however, carbanions can also be sufficiently stabilised, enabling researchers to study their properties and control their reactivity.

In her research project, Professor Viktoria Däschlein-Gessner aims to specifically modify the stability of carbanion compounds by tailoring them in order to open up new fields of application. Her group has already successfully applied such strategies to other substance classes in the past, for example through an ERC Starting Grant. This enabled the researchers to develop numerous, often surprising, innovations in molecular chemistry. Now, this approach is expected to produce a change in perspective in carbanion chemistry, transforming reactive reagents into broadly applicable building blocks and functional groups. Supported by computational studies, the anionic nature and electron richness of carbanions will thus be systematically exploited to achieve properties and reactivities that are not accessible with conventional strategies. The results will be used in various research directions and will, for example, enable new, highly efficient catalysts based on abundant elements, as well as superbases for the binding of CO2 or electronically switchable materials.

The project starts in 2023. It will be funded with 2 million euros.

The grantee

Professor Viktoria Däschlein-Gessner is Professor of of Inorganic Chemistry at Ruhr University Bochum.

The grantee

Bildliche beispielhafte Darstellung eines Doktorhuts
ERC Consolidator Grant Projects
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