Assistant Professor of Chemistry
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Hosted by Professor Danna Freedman
Catalyst performance depends on the ability of a substrate to reach the active site, and controlling this substrate binding process in transition metal complexes is a major challenge. We are harnessing the strength of supramolecular host-guest chemistry to control organometallic catalysts using cationic additives. Incorporating a crown ether macrocycle into a robust pincer ligand enables the donor properties of such “pincer-crown ether” ligands to be tuned through cation-macrocycle interactions. Mechanistic studies of the dynamic interactions between catalysts, cations, and substrates provide an emerging picture of how cations can tune catalysis.
Alexander Miller joined the faculty at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as an Assistant Professor of Chemistry in July 2012. His research group is using thermochemical and kinetic mechanistic studies to guide the development of tunable catalysts for chemical synthesis and alternative energy applications. After undergraduate studies at the University of Chicago, he obtained his Ph.D. at the California Institute of Technology (working with John Bercaw and Jay Labinger, 2011), and carried out postdoctoral studies at the University of Washington, Seattle with Karen Goldberg and James Mayer.