Date of Award


Document Type




Thesis Advisor

Ivan Gitsov


The Suzuki-Miyaura cross-coupling reaction (Suzuki reaction) is a highly efficient method of Carbon-Carbon bond formation, making it widely used in the synthesis of biaryl intermediates of pharmaceuticals. The coupling is conventionally performed at elevated temperatures and in organic solvents leading to adverse economic and environmental impacts. Previous studies in our group suggest that water soluble dendrimers, able to complex palladium, are viable Suzuki catalysts able to afford quantitative yields of the target compounds in water at close to ambient temperatures. They are, however, not ideal for catalyzing the reaction between hydrophobic reagents due to lack of contact with water-insoluble substrates. The goals of this study are to design and test water-soluble dendritic-palladium complexes containing a hydrophobic core, able to solubilize and selectively bind hydrophobic substances, in an attempt to improve the spatial arrangement of the catalyst and reagents in water. The structure of these novel “green” catalysts consists of calix[n]arene (n= 4,6,8) as the central core with water soluble poly(ester-ether) dendrons attached at the upper rim of the cycle (see figure below). The progress in the synthesis of these unique macromolecules by Williamson ether synthesis and Cu(I)-catalyzed alkyne-azide cycloaddition is reported. Our ability to reproducibly form the depicted compound with chemical and structural purity is confirmed by diverse analyses (NMR, MALDI-TOF, DLS, ICP and TEM). Upon completion, this work aims to achieve unprecedented yields for the Suzuki reaction in water and produce the first Suzuki catalyst to mimic enzymatic character by selectively incorporating reagents.

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