IMPACT Lectures: “Fe-N2 complexes for catalytic nitrogen fixation”


The Center for Sustainable Energy (ND Energy) is pleased to share the following announcement regarding the inaugural IMPACT Lecture, sponsored by the graduate students in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

The first lecture will be presented by:  Dr. Jonas Peters, Bren Professor of Chemistry,Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, California Institute of Technology.

Summary:  Prof. Peters’ laboratory at Caltech is primarily focused on the design, synthesis, and characterization of inorganic species that have significantly push the boundaries of our understanding of electronic structure, bonding, and reactivity patterns.  Out of this effort has grown the elucidation of a broad and unanticipated range of formal iron redox chemistry at pseudotetrahedral and 5-coordinate iron centers (from 0 to 4+) featuring nitrogenous ligands (LnFe-Nx). This insight motivated us to propose that a single iron site within the FeMo-nitrogenase might be capable of mediating overall N2 reduction to NH3. We have since developed examples of iron complexes that reduce N2 catalytically at remarkably low temperatures (-78 °C) and atmospheric pressure. These are the first molecular iron catalysts that functionally model biological nitrogen fixation.

Bio: Jonas Peters received his bachelor of science degree in chemistry at the University of Chicago in 1993, where he worked with Professor Gregory Hillhouse on synthetic methods in inorganic chemistry, specifically with regard to the stabilization of reactive species including HN=NH and HNO. Jonas then spent a year as a Marshall Scholar at the University of Nottingham, UK, working with Professor James J. Turner, FRS. Jonas studied physical inorganic chemistry including photochemical generation and the detection of short-lived transients by rapid time-resolved methods. In the fall of 1994, Jonas left Nottingham to begin his doctoral studies under the direction of Professor Christopher C. Cummins at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The IMPACT Lectures are a series of lectures given by influential, broad reaching scientists which are organized by the graduate students in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. This lecture series is a unique opportunity for students to have direct input in the selection and invitation process. The lectures also allow for the students to interact directly with the speaker as they will meet with the students in face-to-face discussions about cutting-edge research and the academic experience. The goal of these lectures is to give the graduate students the opportunity to expand their knowledge and network with leading members of the science community.

Please see Dr. Jonas Peters' event flyer for more information.