Design and synthesis of N-heterocyclic carbene or
hydroxycyclopentadienyl ligands and relative transition metal
complexes to be employed in homogeneous catalysis.
Design of ruthenium and iron based homogeneous
catalysts to be employed in the upgrading of bio-oils by means of
selective hydrogenation of polar double bonds.
Design and study of the reactivity of dinuclear iron
complexes bearing C3 bridging ligands.
1) Design, synthesis and characterization of N-heterocyclic
carbene or cyclopentadienyl ligands and of the corresponding
transition metal complexes (e.g.: Ag, Rh, Fe, Ru). Study of the
catalytic activity in homogeneous phase reaction (e.g.:
hydroformylation, hydrogenation, hydrosilylation of terminal
alkynes, addition of arylaldehydes to phenylboronic acid).
2) Homogeneous catalysis for the valorization of bio-oil. The
liquid fraction obtained by the biomass pyrolysis (bio-oil)
represents a possible alternative to fossil fuels. In order to
obtain a stable bio-oil, upgrading by means of catalytic processes
is needed. In this field our research group studied the catalytic
activity and selectivity of ruthenium based hydrogenation catalysts
on model compounds and mixtures (aldehydes, ketones, acids) which
simulate the bio-oil behavior as well as on the real bio-oil
obtained from pyrolysis. The synthesis of new functionalized
ligands for the latter scope led to the development of a new
molecule able to gel organic solvents (low molecular weight
3) Study of the reactivity of iron based dinuclear complexes
with C3 bridging ligands. The coordination of C3 ligands between
two iron atoms allow the reactivity to be tuned with respect to the
free organic fragment. The latter property can be exploited in
order to change the functionalization of the three bridging carbon
atoms. Furthermore the peculiar reactivity of these dinuclear
complexes leads to the formation of new variously functionalized
ferrocenes and cyclohexadienyloxo complexes by means of an
unconventional synthesis that involve a cyclization with alkynes.
The presence of donor group on the organic moiety can be further
employed for the formation of multinuclear complexes (e.g.: Fe, Pd,
Rh, Ru). The research group has been employed in the discovery of
iron promoted unconventional reactivity for a long time. Nowadays
one of the objective is to develop new iron based catalysts. In
this direction it has been recently studied and iron catalyst for
the formation of ethers from alcohol.