Alexander Miller

Alexander Miller

Associate Professor

   Kenan Laboratories A400
   919-962-4618
   ajmm@email.unc.edu
  Group Website
  Curriculum Vitae


Research Interests

Energy Catalysis, Synthetic Organometallic Chemistry, Metal-Ligand Cooperation


Research Synopsis

Research in the Miller group revolves around transformations relevant to global energy concerns, including the storage of solar energy in chemical fuels, proton-coupled electron transfer reactions, and hydrocarbon transformations. Our approach starts with the design and synthesis of transition metal catalysts, then shifts to examining catalyst performance with a focus on understanding reaction mechanism in order to inform catalyst improvements.

Our catalysts feature multifunctional ligands: beyond simply supporting the metal center, the ligands position additional functionality in the secondary coordination sphere of the metal and work in concert with the metal center to enhance key steps in catalytic cycles.

Professional Background

University of Chicago, BS, 2005; California Institute of Technology, PhD, 2011; Dreyfus Environmental Chemistry Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Washington, Seattle, 2011-2012; James Moeser Award for Distinguished Research, University Research Council, 2014; NSF CAREER Award, 2016; Sloan Research Fellowship, 2016;


Research Group

News & Publications

Hemilabile ligands are found in many leading organometallic catalysts, but it can be challenging to tune the degree of hemilability in a particular catalyst. This work explores the impact of cation-tunable hemilability on the speciation of iridium(III) pincer-crown ether catalysts during high-activity olefin isomerization.

 

Despite advances in the development of molecular catalysts capable of reducing dinitrogen to ammonia using proton donors and chemical reductants, few molecular electrocatalysts have been discovered. This Perspective considers the prospects of electrocatalyst development based on a mechanism featuring the cleavage of N-2 into metal nitride complexes.