Dr Erin Leitao, The University of Auckland

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04 November 2016

Going inorganic!

The vast majority of synthetic chemistry is targeted at making molecules and materials containing predominantly carbon. Erin wants to make use of other main-group (inorganic) elements such as silicon, phosphorus, nitrogen, oxygen and sulphur to synthesise polymers. These alternatives to carbon are not only in high abundance, they give the potential to produce materials with unexplored properties and reactivity.

Linking atoms together to form polymers is possible by the use of a catalyst, a substance that speeds up a reaction. Currently the chemistry of linking main-group elements together is under-developed. Erin plans on developing new, efficient synthetic routes, by focusing on promising catalytic reactions that will open doors to another next generation of functional polymers and materials.



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