Research Inorganic

Inorganic Research

Inorganic chemistry is a discipline that spans areas ranging from materials chemistry to organic synthesis and on to broad problems in energy. The Inorganic Division at the University of North Carolina ranks among the top ten nationally and has been a major strength of the Chemistry Department for decades.

Graduate students in the Inorganic Division are exposed to an exciting research environment, cutting-edge characterization and catalysis facilities, an exciting educational curriculum, and a collegial mentoring environment, all of which together provide an excellent foundation for future careers in industry and academia.

The Inorganic Division is deeply involved in several overarching departmental themes. Catalysis is a particularly prominent research area at UNC, with ongoing activities involving the synthesis of complexes for a broad range of homogeneous catalysis applications – energy, biomass remediation, small molecule synthesis, site-selective activation, asymmetric catalysis, and polymerization – and the exploitation of transition metal complexes in photocatalytic water splitting and carbon dioxide reduction and for applications in biotechnology.

Functional materials chemistry is another strength at UNC, with highly visible research activities in solar fuels, nanoparticles/quantum dots, and photovoltaics.

Recent Research Results

Considering Electrocatalytic Ammonia Synthesis via Bimetallic Dinitrogen Cleavage

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.

Molecular Catalysts

Studying the formation of transition metal hydride complexes via proton-coupled electron transfer is important for developing next-generation molecular catalysts...

Delayed Photoacidity

The excitation of photoacids produces powerful proton donors that can trigger proton-coupled electron transfer, PCET, reactions. Coupled to time-resolved...

Representative Publications

Proton-Coupled Electron Transfer Kinetics for the Photoinduced Generation of a Cobalt(III)-Hydride Complex.
Kurtz, Daniel A., Dempsey, Jillian L..
Inorg. Chem. 2019, 58, 24, 16510-16517

Delayed Photoacidity Produced through the Triplet–Triplet Annihilation of a Neutral Pyranine Derivative.
J. Christian Lennox, Evgeny O. Danilov, Jillian L. Dempsey.
Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2019, 21, 16353-16358

On Decomposition, Degradation, and Voltammetric Deviation: the Electrochemist's Field Guide to Identifying Precatalyst Transformation.
Lee, Katherine, McCarthy, Brian, Dempsey, Jillian.
Chemical Society Review, Volume: 48, Issue: 11, Pages: 2927-2945

Electron-Promoted X-Type Ligand Displacement at CdSe Quantum Dot Surfaces.
Electron-Promoted X-Type Ligand Displacement at CdSe Quantum Dot Surfaces.
Nano Lett., 2019, 19 (2), pp 1151–1157

Stable Molecular Surface Modification of Nanostructured, Mesoporous Metal Oxide Photoanodes by Silane and Click Chemistry.
Wu, Lei, Eberhart, Michael, Shan, Bing, Nayak, Animesh, Brennaman, M. Kyle), Miller, Alexander J. M., Shao, Jing, Meyer, Thomas J..
ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2019, 11, 4, 4560-4567

Charge Transfer from Upconverting Nanocrystals to Semiconducting Electrodes: Optimizing Thermodynamic Outputs by Electronic Energy Transfer.
Bing Shan, Ting-Ting Li, M. Kyle Brennaman, Animesh Nayak, Lei Wu, and Thomas J. Meyer.
J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2019, 141 (1), pp 463–471

Switching between Stepwise and Concerted Proton-Coupled Electron Transfer Pathways in Tungsten Hydride Activation.
Tao Huang, Eric S. Rountree, Andrew P. Traywick, Magd Bayoumi, and Jillian L. Dempsey.
J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2018, 140 (44), pp 14655–14669

Exchange Equilibria of Carboxylate-Terminated Ligands at PbS Nanocrystal Surfaces.
Melody L. Kessler, Hannah E. Starr, Robin R. Knauf, Kelley J. Rountree and Jillian L. Dempsey.
Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2018, 20, 23649-23655

Investigation of a Catenane with a Responsive Noncovalent Network: Mimicking Long-Range Responses in Proteins.
Mee-Kyung Chung, Peter S. White, Stephen J. Lee, Michel R. Gagné, and Marcey L. Waters.
J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2016, 138 (40), pp 13344–13352