The use of organic polymers in catalysis is an underexplored area of research with great potential for unprecedented reactivity. Generally, appending a small molecule catalyst – organic or metal-based – to a macromolecule has the potential to improve its stability, recyclability, reactivity, and selectivity. While numerous groups have studied polymers as catalyst supports, most of the conceivable advances have yet to be accomplished. Our approach to this topic focuses on the use of stable, recyclable, polymer-supported catalysts and green reaction conditions. Our projects aim to enable challenging chemical reactions such as the conversion of gaseous hydrocarbons to easily transportable and more energy dense liquid fuels or the selective oxygenation of medically relevant molecules. Students working in the Radlauer group will acquire synthetic and analytic skills, including air- and water-free techniques, relevant to organometallic, inorganic, organic, and polymer chemistry while building and studying novel catalytic systems. These projects include the synthesis of polymer-based catalytic supports and investigations of their reactivity as well as fundamental studies to optimize the design of these systems to support a broad range of catalyst chemistries.

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