Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Dr. Rui Zhang (Director), Dr. Kevin Williams, Dr. Jeremy Maddox

Degree Program

Department of Chemistry

Degree Type

Master of Science


In nature, transition metal containing enzymes display many biologically important, attractive and efficient catalytic oxidation reactions. Many transition metal catalysts have been designed to mimic the predominant oxidation catalysts in nature, namely, the cytochrome P450 enzymes. Ruthenium porphyrin complexes have been the center of this research and have successfully been utilized, as catalysts, in major oxidation reactions, such as the hydroxylation of alkanes. The present work focuses on photocatalytic studies of aerobic oxidation reactions with well characterized ruthenium porphyrin complexes.

The photocatalytic studies of aerobic oxidation reactions of hydrocarbons The photocatalytic studies of aerobic oxidation reactions of hydrocarbons catalyzed by a bis-porphyrin-ruthenium(IV) μ-oxo dimer using atmospheric oxygen as the oxygen source in the absence of co-reductants were investigated. The ruthenium(IV) μ-oxo bisporphyrin (3a-d) was found to catalyze aerobic oxidation of a variety of organic substrates efficiently. By comparison, 3d was found to be a more efficient photocatalyst than the well-known 3a under identical conditions. A KIE at 298K was found to be larger than those observed in autoxidation processes, suggesting a nonradical mechanism that involved the intermediacy of ruthenium(V)-oxo species as postulated. The reactivity order in the series of ruthenium(IV) μ-oxo bisporphyrin complexes follows TPFPP>4- CF3TPP>TPP, and is consistent with expectations based on the electrophilic nature of the ruthenium(IV) μ-oxo bisporphyrin species.

The trans-dioxoruthenium(VI) porphyrins have been among the best characterized metal-oxo intermediates and their involvement as the active oxidant in the hydrocarbon oxidation have been extensively studied. In addition to the well-known chemical methods, we developed a novel approach for generation of trans-dioxoruthenium( VI) porphyrins with visible light by extension of the known photoinduced ligand cleavage reactions. A series of trans-dioxoruthenium(VI) porphyrin complexes (6a-d) were photochemically synthesized and spectroscopically characterized by UV-vis, and 1H-NMR.


Chemistry | Organic Chemistry