Events & Seminars > Event Details


4:00 pm
Room 304 in the Chemistry Building

N-Heterocyclic Carbenes: Effective Tools for Small Molecules Stabilization


Dr. Robert Gilliard
Case Western Reserve University

Hosted by: Professor Dean Harman

The chemistry of s- and p- block elements has evolved dramatically in recent decades, catalyzed by the discovery of stable carbenes. One of the most prominent uses of carbenes is as synthetic tools to aid in the stabilization of highly reactive small molecules. This presentation will cover the syntheses and molecular structures of Nheterocyclic carbene-stabilized beryllium species and will culminate with a discussion of our recent discoveries regarding the synthesis and reactivity of the 2-phosphaethynolate anion, [OCP]−. Sodium phosphaethynolate, Na[OCP], is a remarkably stable species containing a P≡C triple bond. The [OCP]− anion is the phosphorus analogue of the more familiar isocynate anion [NCO]− and is best described as a cross between two resonance structures, a phosphaethynolate [O−C≡P]− (51.7%, NRT) and a phosphaketenide [O=C=P]− (40.2%, NRT). This rapidly evolving synthon has been utilized as a “P−” transfer reagent and as a means to afford highly interesting [4+2] and [2+2] cycloaddition chemistry. Accordingly, this presentation will highlight the experimental realization of interesting adducts of
P2 and CO.


Dr. Robert J. Gilliard, Jr. is a native of Hartsville, South Carolina. He obtained his BS in Chemistry from Clemson University, working in the laboratory of Prof. Rhett C. Smith, and earned his PhD in Chemistry from The University of Georgia specializing in the broad field of organometallic chemistry, working in the laboratory of Professor Greg Robinson. Dr. Gilliard has received a number of prestigious honors and awards. Currently, Dr. Gilliard is a Postdoctoral Research Scientist at ETH Zürich with Prof. Hansjörg Grützmacher and Case Western Reserve University with Prof. John Protasiewicz. Dr. Gilliard was awarded UNCF/Merck and Ford Foundation fellowships to prepare a new class of phosphoruscontaining molecules which have applications in bioactive and materials chemistry. Recently, in a special Forbes Magazine issue on the brightest young entrepreneurs, breakout talents and change agents, he was featured as one of Forbes 30 under 30 in Science.