: from quantum chemical investigations to applications in main group and frustrated Lewis pair chemistry

    Student thesis: Doc typesDoctor of Sciences


    Frustrated Lewis pairs (FLPs) consisting of sterically hindered Lewis acids and bases constitute appealing alternatives to established transition metal catalysts. Expanding the scope of FLP and main group chemistry requires the development of Lewis bases or acids with new reactivities. To this end, constraining main group elements, such as phosphorus and boron, in a “non-classical” scaffold is a promising but little explored strategy. Due to their cage-shaped structure, 9-phosphatriptycene derivatives are weak Lewis bases with high potential in FLP chemistry. Similarly, boranes such as 9-boratriptycene derivatives exhibit an enhanced Lewis acidity due to their non-planar character.
    This thesis describes the multi-step synthesis of 9-phosphatriptycene derivatives and their applications in FLP catalysis (hydrogenation of unactivated alkenes) and in main group chemistry (potential fluorinating agents). In addition, a density functional theory investigation was undertaken, focusing on their structure-property relationships as well as on the Lewis acidity of 9-boratriptycene derivatives and their applications in methane activation.
    In essence, this work expands our understanding of the structure-property relationships affecting the reactivity of main group compounds. This fundamental advancement demonstrates that structural changes can constitute a new strategy for reactivity fine-tuning and brings solutions to long-lasting challenges in metal-free catalysis and main group chemistry.
    Date of Award22 Jun 2023
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Namur
    SponsorsFund for Research Training in Industry and Agriculture (FRIA)
    SupervisorGuillaume Berionni (Supervisor), Benoit CHAMPAGNE (Co-Supervisor), Catherine Michaux (President), Vincent Liegeois (Jury), Olivier Baudoin (Jury) & Lutz Greb (Jury)


    • Main Group Chemistry
    • Frustrated Lewis Pairs (FLPs)
    • Catalysis
    • Density Functional Theory
    • Lewis bases
    • Lewis acids

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