Research Interests

My research interests range from physical-organic to supramolecular chemistry and self-assembly. I developed vinyl(enol)triflate chemistry, which is now widely used by synthetic, materials, and inorganic chemists in Pd-catalyzed cross-coupling reactions of importance in the synthesis of natural products, new materials, and tectons in self-assembly. I have generated and studied vinyl cations and extended unsaturated carbenes, which are novel members of the family of carbocations and carbenes, two of the most important and ubiquitous intermediates in organic chemistry. I have exploited alkynyliodonium species as "electrophilic" acetylene equivalents and used them to prepare hitherto unknown acetylenic esters: alkynyl carboxylates, phosphates, and sulfonates. In connection with my current interest in supramolecular chemistry and self-assembly I have developed, systematized, and exploited a general methodology for the self-assembly of discrete supramolecular species with well-defined shapes and sizes based on coordination and dative metal-ligand bonds. This is an alternative paradigm to nature's hydrogen bonding for the self-assembly of large (nm) highly symmetrical ensembles of significance in nanotechnology and materials science. Metallacyclic polygons and polyhedra--such as nanoscale molecular squares, hexagons, truncated tetrahedra, cuboctahedra, and dodecahedra--have been self-assembled with this paradigm. I am investigating the catalytic, host-guest, and molecular recognition properties of these new ensembles.

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Section 14: Chemistry