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  1. Ligand selectivity to specific lanthanide (Ln) ions is key to the separation of rare earth elements from each other. Ligand selectivity can be quantified with relative stability constants (measured experimentally) or relative binding energies (calculated computationally). The relative stability constants of EDTA (ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid) with La 3+ , Eu 3+ , Gd 3+ , and Lu 3+ were predicted from relative binding energies, which were quantified using electronic structure calculations with relativistic effects and based on the molecular structures of Ln–EDTA complexes in solution from density functional theory molecular dynamics simulations. The protonation state of an EDTA amine group was varied to study pH ∼7 and ∼11 conditions. Further, simulations at 25 °C and 90 °C were performed to elucidate how structures of Ln–EDTA complexes varying with temperature are related to complex stabilities at different pH conditions. Relative stability trends are predicted from computation for varying Ln 3+ ions (La, Eu, Gd, Lu) with a single ligand (EDTA at pH ∼11), as well as for a single Ln 3+ ion (La) with varying ligands (EDTA at pH ∼7 and ∼11). Changing the protonation state of an EDTA amine site significantly changes the solution structure of the Ln–EDTA complex resulting inmore »a reduction of the complex stability. Increased Ln–ligand complex stability is correlated to reduced structural variations in solution upon an increase in temperature.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 4, 2023
  2. The restricted rotation of chemical bonds may lead to the formation of stable, conformationally chiral molecules. While the asymmetry in chiral molecules is generally observed in the presence of one or more stereocenters, asymmetry exhibited by conformational chirality in compounds lacking stereocenters, called atropisomerism, depends on structural and temperature factors that are still not fully understood. This atropisomerism is observed in natural diarylether heptanoids where the length of the intramolecular tether constrains the compounds to isolable enantiomers at room temperature. In this work, we examine the impact tether length has on the activation free energies to isomerization of a diarylether cyclophane substructure with a tether ranging from 6 to 14 carbons. Racemization activation energies are observed to decay from 48 kcal/mol for a 7-carbon tether to 9.2 kcal/mol for a 14-carbon tether. Synthetic efforts to experimentally test these constraints are also presented. This work will likely guide the design and synthesis of novel asymmetric cyclophanes that will be of interest in the catalysis community given the importance of atropisomeric ligands in the field of asymmetric catalysis.