Office of Undergraduate Research

Chiral Brønsted Acid Development

Nature uses chiral Brønsted acids catalytically for numerous organic reactions. Organic chemists have until only very recently realized the importance of this unique class of catalyst. As a result, there are very few known chiral Brønsted acids. In recent years, due to the tremendous need for new asymmetric organic reactions in the pharmaceutical and food industries, interest in strong chiral Brønsted acids has been steadily growing. Currently, there are only a few of these acids known that have been used successfully for organic reactions. The research proposed here would involve exploration of a new class of chiral Brønsted acids for organic reactions. In addition, this research would focus on the importance of strong acidity as well as asymmetry for aza-Henry reaction. The aza-Henry reaction is very important in organic synthesis because of its product versatility in further down synthesis in the cyclopropanation reaction and hemiacetal formations which are key organic reactions.

Tasks and responsibilities:

The tasks and responsibilities are but not limited to: running organic reactions in a chemical labororatory, separating multiple compounds from reactions by column chromatography, using the NMR (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Machine) to obtain spectral data for all compounds, separating enatiomers by HPLC (High Pressure Liquid Chromatograph), using distallation apparatuses to purify solvents for running chemical reactions. Also, the student will have to understand the research that he will be conducting by reading chemical journals, using SciFinder to research the reactions being conducted and the mechanisms for the reactions. The student will also need to be trained to use the NMR and HPLC machines. The student will be expected to work 20 hours a week, but more hours are encouraged. The student will also have to attend one group meeting every week to discuss research from the previous week.