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Rita Mazzoni

Associate Professor

Department of Industrial Chemistry "Toso Montanari"

Academic discipline: CHIM/03 General and Inorganic Chemistry


Keywords: Homogeneous catalysis Bio-oil upgrading N-heterocyclic carbene complexes Dinuclear iron complexes Hydroxycyclopentadienyl complexes

a)     Design and synthesis of N-heterocyclic carbene or hydroxycyclopentadienyl ligands and relative transition metal complexes to be employed in homogeneous catalysis.

b)     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.

c)     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 organogelator).


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.

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