Design and Synthesis of Bio-inspired Macromolecules Containing Atomically Precise Catalytic Active Sites

Period of Performance: 07/31/2017 - 07/30/2019


Phase 2 STTR

Recipient Firm

Mainstream Engineering Corporation
200 Yellow Place Array
Rockledge, FL 32955
Firm POC
Principal Investigator

Research Institution

Temple University
Dept. of Computer & Informatio 1805 N. Broad St
Philadelphia, PA 19122
Institution POC


High selectivity in chemical reactions is the key to reducing costs, energy consumption and emissions in chemical processing. More selective and active catalysts will reduce the need for recovering unreacted chemicals for recycle and removing byproducts. Reducing the burden on separation processes will greatly reduce the energy required for chemical production. We will design macromolecular catalysts that resemble clamshells to act as highly selective C-H activation catalysts. These macro molecules will create complex, chiral pockets to bind metal ions, react with oxidants or molecular oxygen and react selectively with C-H bonds in a variety of hydrocarbon compounds. In Phase I we demonstrated two synthetic approaches to macromolecules that display two metal binding sites and contain 8 and 24 stereocenters, respectively. The synthesis of these compounds demonstrates that molecules of the size needed to create binding pockets will be attainable in Phase II. We also performed a market study and found significant interest in chiral catalysts by potential customers. In Phase II we will refine the synthesis methods and evaluate the catalytic activity of these materials when exposed to a panel of substrates. This will confirm the production of desired products as well as observe off-target catalytic activity that could lead to new applications of these molecules. The commercial applications of these catalysts are immense and include pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals and personal care products. The public will benefit from lower cost goods as a result of more efficiently manufacturing processes. The public will also benefit from the reduced emissions of processes made more efficient by these catalysts.