The Yamashita Group@NU
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Furo-cho, Chikusa-ku, Nagoya 464-8603, Japan
Department of Molecular and Macromolecular Chemistry,
Graduate School of Engineering, Nagoya University
access to Higashiyama campus, campus map
#1 Building, room 1029 (10th floor, entrance is the 2nd floor)

(1) Elucidation of novel bonding motif in organo-main group element compounds and understanding their properties

"Molecule" is a charge-neutral substance consisting of plural atoms. "Molecule" is the smallest unit that characterizes the properties of a substance. Depending on their structure, molecules can be a drug, a poison, or even a functional substance that supports human life. How many kinds of molecules have human beings got so far? Especially in organic chemistry that deals with a huge number of molecules, it is considered that the number of possible molecules exceeds 1060 even for simple organic compounds having a molecular weight of 500 or less (Bohacek, R. S.; McMartin, C.; Guida, W. C., Med. Res. Rev. 1996, 16, 3-50.). A multidimensional space in which these molecules are arranged as points with their molecular properties as axes is called "Chemical Space", and is a space in which molecular groups with similar properties are located nearby (Reymond, J.-L.; Awale, M., ACS Chem. Neurosci. 2012, 3, 649-657.). The creation of "new" molecular groups, that can contribute to drug discovery, correponds to the creation of points that do not exist in the past in this chemical space. Considering that bonds, bond angles, and torsion angles are essential components that make up a molecule, it is clear that creating a "new bond" that does not exist in the past means creating a new molecule, a new structure, and a new reactivity. Therefore, we are conducting research with the idea that creating "new bond" will give diversity to the chemical space. In particular, our chemistry aims at the creation of new substances its application to material chemistry by accumulating knowledge on the "elemental properties" that are expressed when a wide variety of elements in the periodic table are contained in organic molecules. Specifically, our research subjects are to find new bonds, new molecules, new structures, and new reactivity by focusing on organic compounds containing Group 13 elements that exhibit electron deficiency, especially boron and aluminum.

Reprinted with permission from Reymond, J.-L.; Awale, M., ACS Chem. Neurosci. 2012, 3, 649-657. Copyright 2021 American Chemical Society.

According to this policy, we are counducting the following researches. Each link has a detailed information.

(1a) Chemistry of nucleophilic boryl anion
(1b) Chemistry of highly reactive diborane(4)
(1c) Chemistry of Al anion

(2) Organometallic chemistry and catalysis for the development of catalysts with aim of industrial application (All the numerical data was extracted from BP Statistical Review of World Energy and White paper on energy 2019)

 In modern society, human beings consume about 4.5 billion tons of oil annually. Chemical products are synthesized from about 12% of petroleum, and the remaining petroleum is used as an energy source by simply burning it. Chemical products are mainly produced by the chemical reaction of ethylene, propylene, and BTX (benzene, toluene, xylene) produced by the thermal cracking of naphtha (a low boiling point component obtained by distillation of petroleum). It is no exaggeration to say that the affluent life of humankind is supported by these chemical products.

 On the other hand, the annual production of natural gas is about 3.85 trillion m3. About 28% of the produced natural gas is used as a chemical raw material, and the remaining natural gas is simply burned like petroleum and used as an energy source. Methane, the main component of natural gas (90% ), used as a chemical raw material is mainly converted into a mixed gas of carbon monoxide and hydrogen (also called syngas) by a reaction called steam reforming (CH4 + H2O → CO + 3H2), which is a raw material for the production of ammonia and alcohols. However, the reaction via steam reforming is multi-step, and the energy cost is high to produce various chemical products such as petrochemicals.

 Human beings are considering the use of solar power as a solution to the energy problem, and what should chemistry do next if solar power generation etc. can curb the consumption of fossil resources by the energy revolution in the near future? ?? As mentioned above, human life would not be possible without chemical products. No one lives without using chemicals at all, no matter how natural-minded they are. In other words, even if the energy revolution would occur, the consumption of fossil resources is indispensable to maintain the present human life. Our laboratory envisions the following issues in the chemistry of fossil resources during the post-energy revolution.
-Reducing energy consumption by developing catalysts that can replace the current chemical production process
-Converting methane, which is the main component of natural gas, into a raw material that can be used in petrochemical processes.

According to this context, we are counducting the following researches. Each link has a detailed information.

(2a) Development of methane-converting process by using homogeneous and heterogeneous catalyst
(2b) Exploring novel elementary reactions such as bond cleavage by using organometallic complexes
(2c) Development of highly efficient catalyst to functionalize alkanes
(2d) Development of new homogeneous catalyst reforming the present petrochem processes