Alkaline Earth Metal Redox Chemistry

The chemistry that governs the development of new catalysts, molecules, and materials often involve redox reactions where a metal center undergoes a change in oxidation state. While this redox behavior is well-established for transition metals [e.g., Pd(0)/Pd(II)], it is difficult to elicit from main-group elements due to differences in the frontier molecular orbitals of their complexes. As alkaline earth metals are some of the most abundant and cost-effective elements in the toolbox of synthetic chemists, there is a renewed interest in understanding the reactivity of Lewis acidic and low-oxidation state molecules which feature group 2 metals in an unusual coordination environment. Recent studies by our lab have shown that alkaline earth complexes possess redox- and coordination-state flexibility to a degree that was not previously apparent. In this research area we have explored the synthesis and reactivity of beryllium and magnesium compounds that are important for the use of these elements in new redox processes for bond activation.