Project B - Barriers of protonation reactions of organometallics
Typical organometallics, such as Grignard reagents RMgX, are notorious for their complexity in solution: they easily switch between different aggregation and coordination states (so-called Schlenk equilibria). This dynamic behavior severely complicates any kinetic analysis in solution. For ionic species, the latter problem can be circumvented by transferring them into the gas phase via electrospray ionization and isolating them by tandem mass spectrometry. The project will use this approach for examining the microscopic reactivity of a wide range of organometallic ions toward proton donors as model electrophiles. The experimentally obtained rate constants shall then serve as benchmarks for theory. In combination, experiment and theory, thus, promise to unravel the mechanism of prototypical organometallic reactions and afford fundamental insight relevant to synthesis and catalysis.