Research Interests

Our research interests involve the synthesis and reactivity of inorganic and organometallic compounds supported by multidentate ligands.  We are especially interested in compounds that catalyze the polymerization of olefins to form polyolefins and shorter chain oligomers (a-olefins).

One current project involves the synthesis and reactivity of chromium compounds supported by tridentate ligands such as bis-2-pyridylalkylamines (BPA).  We found an interesting dependence of polymerization activity on the metal coordination geometry, with fac isomers displaying 40-50 times higher activity than their mer counterparts (Carney, M. J.; Robertson, N. J.; Halfen, J. A.; Zakharov, L. N.; Rheingold, A. L. Organometallics 2004, 23, 6184-6190).









We continue to explore this effect by examining other tridentate ligands and their metal complexes, such as those shown below.












Click here to see a recent poster describing our work.

A second project involves the design and synthesis of late transition metal complexes supported by donor modified a-diimine ligands, such as those highlighted below.  A paper describing the synthesis and structural characterization of these compounds was recently accepted for publication in Dalton Transactions.














These compounds have shown a remarkable ability to oligomerize ethylene to high purity short chain a-olefins; the latter are materials of significant commercial interest to Chevron Phillips Chemical Company and several patent applications have been filed, resulting in one allowed patent thus far (US Patent 7,129,304).  A report outlining our initial polymerization studies was recently published (Small, B. L.; Rios, R.; Fernandez, E. R.; Carney, M. J. Organometallics 2007, 26, 1744-1749). Click here to see a recent poster.

We continue to work closely with Chevron Phillips to better understand these compounds and improve their activity.  An article describing our research collaboration has appeared in the CUR Quarterly (Council on Undergraduate Research Quarterly 2006, 27(1), 22-26).

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Contact:  M. J. Carney
Last updated:  December 29, 2006