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Bio-inspired nitrous oxide and dioxygen activation by metal complexes with N/S coordination spheres

Published on 2 November 2021
Group leader

Dr. Stéphane Torelli
CNRS research director
Phone: 33 (0)4 38 78 91 07
Fax: 33 (0)4 38 78 91 24

Group members
Charlotte Maia - PhD Student, CFR fellowship– DRF Sujets Phares

My research focuses on the preparation, characterization and reactivity study of of d-metal ion complexes, mainly copper and iron. Their non-toxicity and abundance are used by nature at active sites in metalloenzymes to carry out fundamental transformations, the latter being often difficult to achieve synthetically in research laboratories. Drawing inspiration from Nature to propose new efficient catalysts for various purposes is therefore an interesting and valuable strategy. In this case, the use of d-bloc metal ions is also important from environmental and eco-aware points of view. In our team, we are particularly interested in the activation of two small and bioactive molecules, nitrous oxide and dioxygen.

Nitrous oxide (N2O) and dioxygen (O2)
are two very important molecules for Life. In their fundamental states, both are poorly reactive and an activation step in required to use them as reagents. Metal ions from the d-bloc are perfectly suitable for such a process, as performed in Nature. The complexes developed in our team were primarily dedicated to the reduction of N2O, as active models of the Cu-containing N2O reductase (N2Or) metalloenzymes for sensing issues. Interestingly, they also proved to be highly effective for O2 reduction with a controlled and pronounced H2O / H2O2 selectivity that leads use to envisage a shift toward supported catalysis to benefit from recyclability.

N2O reductase, models and reactivity
Controlling the oxygen reduction reactions for selective H2O2 production

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