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Chris Schaller, Chemistry


Ring opening polymerizations of esters (ROTEP) can be used to make polymers employed in films, packaging, and tissue engineering scaffolds. The aluminum catalyst used in this research works faster than the other catalysts, but it only works with a single monomer, caprolactone. To combat this issue, this research focused on the synthesis of catalysts with different metals or different ligands. Catalysts that contain a carbene unit have been found to quickly promote many reactions. This project aimed to synthesize ligands containing a carbene unit to attach to a metal. NMR spectroscopy was performed to characterize the coordination compound. There have been a few successful developments of carbene containing ligands, but the catalyst presented here has a novel bidentate design not previously used in ROTEP catalysis. This work has the potential to boost ROTEP efficiency allowing materials to be produced more quickly and economically.