Research in the Vogiatzis Group centers on the development of computational methods based on electronic structure theory and machine learning algorithms for describing chemical systems relevant to clean, green technologies. They are particularly interested in new methods for non-covalent interactions and bond-breaking reactions of small molecules with transition metals. Their overall objectives are to elucidate the fundamental physical principles underlying the magnetic, catalytic, and sorption properties of polynuclear systems, as well as to assist in the interpretation of experimental data.
Recent work in Coordination Chemistry Reviews “Computational catalysis for metal-organic frameworks: An overview” explores Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), a family of porous hybrid organic/inorganic materials, have shown great promise for many challenging chemical applications including gas separations, catalysis, and sensors.
“This review highlights recent work performed on catalytic reactions promoted by MOFs from a computational and theoretical standpoint. Computational modeling includes the elucidation of reaction mechanisms, the characterization of electronic structure effects of key intermediates and transition states, and the interpretation of experimental data.” said Gavin McCarver, graduate student.
Vogiatzis also published a paper with his undergraduate advisor, Dimitris Georgiadis. “Professor Georgiadis is the person who taught me first how to do research and follow my scientific goals” said Vogiatzis. Their work “A Carbodiimide-Mediated P-C Bond-Forming Reaction: Mild Amidoalkylation of P-Nucleophiles by Boc-Aminals” in Organic Letters shares the first example of a carbodiimide-mediated P–C bond-forming reaction.
The reaction involves activation of β-carboxyethylphosphinic acids and subsequent reaction with Boc-aminals using acid-catalysis. Mechanistic experiments using 31P NMR spectroscopy and DFT calculations support the contribution of unusually reactive cyclic phosphinic/carboxylic mixed anhydrides in a reaction pathway involving ion-pair “swapping”. The utility of this protocol is highlighted by the direct synthesis of Boc-protected phosphinic dipeptides, as precursors to potent Zn-aminopeptidase inhibitors.
Inorganic Chemistry published their work “Electrocatalytic Dechlorination of Dichloromethane in Water Using a Heterogenized Molecular Copper Complex.”
The remediation of organohalides from water is a challenging process in environment protection and water treatment. They report a molecular copper(I) complex with two triazole units, CuT2, in a heterogeneous aqueous system that is capable of dechlorinating dichloromethane (CH2Cl2) to afford hydrocarbons (methane, ethane, and ethylene). Computational studies provided additional insight into the reaction mechanism and the selectivity toward the CH4 formation. The findings in this study demonstrate that complex CuT2 is an efficient and stable catalyst for the dehalogenation of CH2Cl2 and could potentially be used for the exploration of the removal of halogenated species from aqueous systems.