CAREER: Nanoreactors for Dual Catalysis Under Polymer Confinement

Project: Research project

Project Details


With the support of the Macromolecular, Supramolecular, and Nanochemistry (MSN) Program in the Division of Chemistry, Dr. Elacqua of The Pennsylvania State University will synthesize and study polymer nanoreactors that consist of multiple catalytic units in a single polymer chain. Both nature and chemical industry use catalysts to speed up the rate of chemical reactions. This research project aims to provide fundamental understanding of the effects of proximally confining cocatalysts on activity and, ultimately, to develop novel strategies for cooperative catalytic transformations. In addition to providing research training to undergraduate and graduate students in organic and polymer synthesis, this project includes curricular activities that highlight contemporary chemistry and feature a multidisciplinary research infrastructure. Additional focus will be placed on increasing the accessibility of organic chemistry and developing active recruitment and retention initiatives that minimize barriers to STEM careers.

This research focuses on studying polymer nanoreactors for photoredox catalysis. Dual photoredox catalysis and tandem reactions are a particular focus. Synthetic strategies will be developed to incorporate multiple catalysts into single-chain polymers that fold controllably to form discrete, nanometer-sized structures with high catalyst density. By tuning the solubility through modifying the chemical structure of the polymer chain, such nanoreactors can function as homogeneous catalysts. Light-initiated reactivity will be studied in the presence of co-catalysts, wherein polymeric confinement can lead to accelerated reactions and provide additional mechanistic insight. These studies are expected to provide useful information on novel strategies for cooperative catalysis. Specifically, this research will provide insight into the effects of proximal catalyst localization upon catalytic efficiency, with the aim of tackling diffusion limitations in co-catalytic reactions.

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

Effective start/end date1/1/2112/31/25


  • National Science Foundation: $677,150.00


Explore the research topics touched on by this project. These labels are generated based on the underlying awards/grants. Together they form a unique fingerprint.