N2 reduction (or "fixation") has been a longstanding target of study in chemistry because of the compelling goal of utilizing abundant, cheap atmospheric N2 for chemical synthesis. Current methods reduce N2 to ammonia at high temperatures and pressures. This seminar will discuss our research into low-temperature N2 fixation, as well as new mechanisms that lead to organic products from N2. One of our strategies borrows from the natural enzyme, nitrogenase, which uses an unusual iron-sulfur cluster whose atomic-level mechanism is mysterious. This motivates the development of iron-sulfur complexes with unusual shapes, and study of their interactions with N2 and other nitrogenase substrates. Another strategy involves low-coordinate iron coordination compounds, which display new mechanisms for breaking the N-N bond of N2. Studies on low-valent iron compounds have led to the first example of converting N2 and arenes directly into aniline products.
Patrick L. Holland attended Terry Parker High School in Jacksonville, graduating in 1989. This was followed by four years at Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey, and graduate school at the University of California at Berkeley with Bob Bergman and Dick Andersen. He received his Ph. D. in inorganic chemistry in 1997 and then did postdoctoral research in Bill Tolman’s research group at the University of Minnesota. In July of 2000, he joined the faculty at the University of Rochester. After thirteen happy years in Rochester, he moved to Yale University, where he is currently Professor of Chemistry.