Friday, September 3, 2021
Dr. Alexander Miller
Department of Chemistry
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Friday, September 3, 2021 at 3:30 p.m. by Zoom (Hand Lab 1144)
The electrochemical reduction of dinitrogen to ammonia holds great promise as a sustainable route to fertilizers and fuels, but little is known about the detailed mechanism of electrochemical ammonia synthesis facilitated by molecular or materials catalysts. We are developing robust pincer complexes to model the electrochemical N2 reduction to NH3 in a well-defined reaction sequence that centers on the direct, dissociative splitting of N2 into nitride ligands. Molecular-level mechanistic insight and an understanding of the factors that control reductive N2 splitting to form metal nitride complexes will be presented. Subsequent proton-coupled electron transfer (PCET) reduction of nitride complexes can produce ammonia. Design principles relevant to the development of molecular electrocatalysts for challenging multi-proton/multi-electron transformations, such as N2 reduction, will be discussed.
Bio: Alexander Miller is an Associate Professor and the Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Chemistry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH). Alex obtained his B.S. at the University of Chicago in 2005 (working with Prof. Greg Hillhouse), and his Ph.D. at the California Institute of Technology in 2011 (working with Profs. John Bercaw and Jay Labinger). After a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Washington, Seattle working with Profs. Karen Goldberg and James Mayer, Alex joined the faculty at UNC-CH in 2012.
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