Dr M.J. Muldoon
BSc (University of Strathclyde), 1998
PhD (University of Strathclyde), 2003
Tel: + 44 (0) 28 9097 4420
Fax: + 44 (0) 28 9097 6524
Research interests are focused on the development of sustainable catalytic processes. This requires an interdisciplinary approach and projects involve inorganic, organic and physical chemistry. In some cases projects are at the interface of chemistry and chemical engineering.
The Muldoon group is particularly interested in developing sustainable methods of carrying out selective oxidation reactions. Oxidation reactions are key for the synthesis of many important chemicals (pharmaceuticals, agrichemicals, fragrances, materials etc), however many of the methods for carrying out oxidation reactions result in large amounts of toxic by-products. Such methods are impractical as well as unsustainable; therefore there is a dire need to develop effective catalysts that utilise molecular oxygen as the terminal oxidant.
One area where we are active is in the development of new palladium (II) complexes that can act as efficient oxidation catalysts. Pd(II) catalysts that can undergo direct O2 coupled turnover are promising candidates for selective oxidation reactions. We are developing new catalysts and studying their performance for a number of different oxidation reactions.
For example, we recently reported that N,O-ligated Pd(II) complexes are highly active catalysts for the selective oxidation of aliphatic alcohols.
See our Chem.Comm for more details Link
We are continuing to develop new catalysts and methodology for a number of selective oxidation reactions that are important in organic synthesis.
The efficient separation and recycling of molecular catalysts is crucial if new processes are to be implemented on a larger scale. Therefore we study a number of approaches that allow the efficient recycling of molecular catalysts, such as using solid supported complexes and the use of multiphase systems.
Neoteric solvents can enable multiphase systems to be developed which allow homogeneous catalysts to be efficiently separated and re-used. In our group we explore the use of CO2 expanded solvents, supercritical carbon dioxide and ionic liquids. See our review In Dalton Transactions for more details: Link
For more details on ionic liquids, see the Queen’s University Ionic Liquid Laboratories (QUILL) website.
We are currently working on a number of projects which utilise multiphase approaches, including continuous flow systems.