University of Minnesota
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Two cobalt metals work together to catalyze nitrogen silylation

The fixation of N2 to ammonia is an active area of research. Besides ammonia, N2 can be reduced to silylamines, a class of chemicals used in the electronic industry. Researchers at the University of Minnesota have discovered a dicobalt complex that catalyzes the silylation of N2 to N(SiMe3)3 in high turnover numbers. The catalyst features an active cobalt metal site that is supported by a cobalt-phosphine metalloligand. The researchers investigated the mechanism of this bimetallic catalyst using experimental and theoretical techniques. The work was recently published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. Read the article.

This work is a collaboration among the groups of Professor Connie Lu, Professor Laura Gagliardi, and Eckhard Bill, Ph.D., from the Max Planck for Chemical Energy Conversion. Graduate Student Randall "Randy" Siedschlag designed and executed the experimental work with assistance from Graduate Student Laura Clouston. A team of post-doctoral scholars, Varinia Bernales, Ph.D., Konstantinos "Kostas" Vogiatzis, Ph.D., and Nora Planas, Ph.D., performed the theoretical calculations.