Defense Date


Graduation Date

Fall 2010


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Chemistry and Biochemistry


Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences

Committee Chair

Ellen S. Gawalt

Committee Member

Jeffrey D. Evanseck

Committee Member

Rita Mihailescu


Asymmetric cyclopropanation, Aza-bis(oxazoline), Catalysis, Self-assembled monolayers


The design, effectiveness and versatility of the self-assembled monolayer-immobilized aza-bis(oxazoline) catalysts was explored here. The first part of this dissertation focuses on the immobilization of aza-bis(oxazoline) ligand with three different C2 groups onto self-assembled monolayer support material. In the homogeneous phase, the more steric bulk present at the C2 position of the catalytic system, the greater the selectivity. In the heterogeneous systems, those with the least amount of steric bulk had the greatest increase in selectivity compared to their respective homogeneous phase. The supports not only allowed for selectivity enhancements not observed in the homogeneous phase, but also demonstrated the effectiveness of this support material in the cyclopropanation reaction.

Self-assembled monolayer supports allowed for modification of the surface steric environment around the catalytic site. This was accomplished by varying the length of the background alkenethiol chains so that three steric environments were created. The three steric environments were the catalyst above the monolayer surface, level with the monolayer surface, and below the monolayer surface. Modification of the steric environment around the catalyst, in turn allows for control of the selectivity of the heterogeneous catalytic system.

Modification of the surface electronic environment around the catalytic site is accomplished by modification of alkanethiol tail groups. The five background tail groups investigated were hydroxyl, bromide, carboxylic acid, methyl ester, and nitrile. Modification of the background tail groups allows for control of the enantioselectivity in the cyclopropanation reaction.

Self-assembled monolayer supports also allow for the generation of effective reusable heterogeneous catalytic systems. One of the main positive aspects of heterogeneous catalysis is the ability to recycle the catalytic system multiple times without major reduction in selectivity. The duration of these heterogeneous aza-bis(oxazoline) systems is dependent on the stability of the gold substrate layer and the reaction solvent.

The last section of this dissertation focuses on the versatility of the aza-bis(oxazoline) copper complex immobilized onto self-assembled monolayers. The homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysts were investigated in the carbonyl-ene reaction of ethyl glyoxylate and á-methylstyrene. The three heterogeneous catalytic systems were the carboxylic acid surface, hydroxyl surface, and the catalyst above the methyl monolayer surface.