Skip directly to content

Critical molecular group for drugs and plastics now easier to make

NSF Award:

CCI Center in Selective C-H Functionalization  (Emory University)

Congressional Districts:
Research Areas:

Researchers at the Center for Selective Carbon-Hydrogen (C-H) Functionalization have discovered a novel method to install alkyne units, a key molecular motif found in industrial chemicals, pharmaceutical drugs and material polymers. The alkyne unit is of significant value to synthetic chemists, not only as a key unit in many pharmaceuticals and polymers, but also as a versatile functional group used to construct more complex molecular scaffolds.

The alkyne triple bond is capable of many chemical transformations such as reductions, additions, rearrangements and cyclizations (formation of a ring in a chemical compound). Hence, this novel methodology has implications for all forms of molecular assembly including natural product synthesis, pharmaceutical manufacture and the construction of polymeric materials for engineering, electronics and medical applications.

The C-H functionalization research, led by Jin-Quan Yu, changes the logic of chemical synthesis by using C-H bonds as reaction partners. Previously the bonds were considered unreactive bystanders. New catalysts and methods are required to selectively perform these transformations. This discovery represents not only an effective method for introducing alkynes, but a selective, predictable and efficient new mode of C-H functionalization.

Images (1 of )

  • a novel approach to synthesizing alkynes eases production of compounds from drugs to polymers
  • alkynes are an extremely versatile functional unit in synthetic chemistry
A novel synthesis method for alkynes eases production of compounds, from drugs to polymers.
Jin-Quan Yu, Scripps Institute and Daniel Morton, Emory University
Alkynes are an extremely versatile functional unit used in synthetic chemistry.
Jin-Quan Yu, Scripps Institute and Daniel Morton, Emory University

Recent Award Highlights

blue, green and orange luminescent nanoribbons

Nanoribbons add color to luminescent paint

Unique synthesis process generates nanostructures that give off blue, green and orange light

Research Areas: Nanoscience, Chemistry & Materials Locations: Georgia
two molecules similar to dna bases assembling in water

The origins of DNA, RNA and proteins

Clues show how distant ancestors to DNA and RNA first assembled on prebiotic Earth

Research Areas: Chemistry & Materials Locations: Georgia