The Copper(I)-catalyzed Azide–Alkyne Cycloaddition: A Modular Approach to Synthesis and Single-Molecule Spectroscopy Investigation into Heterogeneous Catalysis

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Title: The Copper(I)-catalyzed Azide–Alkyne Cycloaddition: A Modular Approach to Synthesis and Single-Molecule Spectroscopy Investigation into Heterogeneous Catalysis
Authors: Decan, Matthew
Date: 2015
Abstract: Click chemistry is a molecular synthesis strategy based on reliable, highly selective reactions with thermodynamic driving forces typically in excess of 20 kcal mol-1. The 1,3-dipolar cycloaddition of azides and alkynes developed by Rolf Huisgen saw dramatic rate acceleration using Cu(I) as a catalyst in 2002 reports by Barry Sharpless and Morten Meldal enabling its click chemistry eligibility. Since these seminal reports, the copper(I)-catalyzed azide-alkyne cycloaddition (CuAAC) has become the quintessential click reaction finding diverse utility. The popularity of the CuAAC has naturally led to interest in new catalyst systems with improved efficiency, robustness, and reusability with particular focus on nanomaterial catalysts, a common trend across the field of catalysis. The high surface area of nanomaterials lends to their efficacy as colloidal and heterogeneous nanocatalysts, but the latter boasts the added benefit of easy separation and recyclability. With any heterogeneous catalyst, a common question arises as to whether the active catalyst species is truly heterogeneous or rather homogeneous through metal ion leaching. Differentiating these processes is critical, as the latter would result in reduced efficiency, higher cost, and inevitable environmental and heath side effects. This thesis explores the CuAAC from an interdisciplary approach. First as a synthetic tool, applying CuAAC-formed triazoles as functional, modular building blocks in the synthesis of optical cation sensors by combining azide and alkyne modified components to create a series of sensors selective for different metal cations. Next, single-molecule spectroscopy techniques are employed to observe the CuNP-catalyzed CuAAC in real time. Combining bench-top techniques with single-molecule microscopy to monitor single-catalytically generated products proves to be an effective method to establish catalysis occurs directly at the surface of copper nanoparticles, ruling out catalysis by ions leached into solution. This methodology is extended to mapping the catalytic activity of a commercial heterogeneous catalyst by applying super-localization analysis of single-catalytic events. The approach detailed herein is a general one that can be applied to any catalytic system through the development of appropriate probes. This thesis demonstrates single-molecule microscopy as an accessible, effective, and unparalleled tool for exploring the catalytic activity of nanomaterials by monitoring single-catalytic events as they occur.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/31882
http://dx.doi.org/10.20381/ruor-6781
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -
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