SMC's Sustainability Initiative

For researchers at the research program in Synthetic Molecular Chemistry (SMC), sustainable practices within the lab are an important part of their research towards renewable energy solutions. The research program includes four interconnected laboratory spaces utilized by five research groups, whose work ranges from developing optoelectronics and fluorescent probes to studying photochemical reactions and catalytic mechanisms.

Emilie Mathieu and Brian McCarthy, postdoctoral researchers in the Borbas and Ott groups, respectively, started a sustainability initiative out of a concern that while alternative energy solutions motivate much of the department’s work, many day-to-day laboratory practices could be environmentally friendlier. Since the first meeting in May of 2019, the team has grown to more than 10 members, including senior faculty that contribute their expertise and commit program resources to the initiative. The team meets once a month to discuss ongoing work and brainstorm new solutions and practices to use resources more efficiently, and have begun publishing results of the initiative on their website.

Improperly functioning or open fume hoods use an enormous amount of energy, consuming as much energy as 3.5 homes. Therefore, the sustainability team kicked off the initiative with fume hood maintenance, checking that the fume hoods were functioning properly and that the hoods automatically close when not in use.  Other sustainability measures have been implemented by providing equipment along with educational resources. For example, the team purchased air reflux condensers for each lab and posted guidelines for their utilization in place of water-based reflux condensers in organic syntheses. The lab also acquired small vacuum pumps for filtration instead of water aspirators. Both of these actions reduce the amount of water used, especially on overnight reactions. For situations that require water cooling, water recirculation systems are being implemented. In a move towards improving lab safety as well as reducing waste, mechanical timers are interfaced to rotary evaporators to automatically turn off equipment outside of normal working hours. Ongoing efforts include the replacement of solvent stills with solvent purification systems to reduce water and energy consumption and the writing of standard operating procedures taking more sustainable practices into account. By continuing to take steps towards environmentally friendly lab practices, SMC hopes to be a leader in sustainability at the Ångström Laboratory.

New publications from the Orthaber group


Silver coordination polymers using the tetratopic BDF-H2 ligand (Eur. J. I. C.) and unexpected chloroarsine chemistry (P, S, Si and rel. El.). 

Silver coordination chemistry
Great work over the summer months by the group published in Eur. J. Inorg. Chem. exploring the coordination chemistry of the 9,9′-bis(4,5-diazafluorene) (BDF-H2) ligand towards Ag(I). Various 1D and 2D- coordination polymers are obtained and crystallographically characterized illustrating the rich chemistry of this unexplored ligand system.

Further details:  Solvent and Counter-Ion Induced Coordination Environment
Changes Towards AgI Coordination Polymers 
Arvind Kumar Gupta, Daniel Morales Salazar, and Andreas Orthaber* Eur. J. Inorg. Chem. asap (link)

Organoarsenic Chemistry
An unexpected, 1,3,4-phosphadiarssolan-1-ium salt was obtained and crystallographically characterized as an A-shaped chlorido adduct in the attempted condensation of trichloro arsanes and diphenyl (trimethylsilylmethyl) phosphane. 

Further details: 

Rearrangement and redistribution reaction of Ph2PCH2TMS with PhAsCl2 or AsCl3Arvind Kumar Gupta, Joshua P. Green, and Andreas Orthaber* Phosphorus, Sulfur and Silicon ,asap (link)

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Last modified: 2021-02-09