Nitrogen Fixation using Low-Coordinate Iron Complexes

February 27, 2015

Patrick Holland

Iron plays a central role in the transformations of nitrogen, both in the enzyme nitrogenase and in the iron-catalyzed Haber-Bosch process. Despite intense research, the catalytic mechanisms are not understood at an atomic level of detail. We will discuss how advances in the synthesis of low-coordinate iron coordination compounds have led to iron complexes with in which the nitrogen-nitrogen bond of N2 is weakened and broken. These new research results help chemists to understand elementary steps in the conversion of dinitrogen to ammonia, and the talk will highlight parallels between solution and surface chemistry. The coordination compounds are studied using advanced spectroscopic techniques, magnetic measurements, and crystallography.