Inorganic-McElvain Seminar – Prof. Eric Schelter (University of Pennsylvania)

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@ 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm

Title: “New Avenues in Lanthanide Chemistry and Photochemistry through 4f-Orbital Engagement”


The role of the partially-filled 4f shell in metal complexes of the lanthanides is typically considered to be non-bonding. And the degenerate set of 4f electrons confers unique, atomistic electronic- and magnetic-properties to complexes of the elements. In recent years, my research group has been working to expand the capabilities of lanthanide elements through fundamental studies of such complexes and their electronic structures.1 We have demonstrated that studies of cerium complexes, in terms of electronic structure, properties, and reactivity, are fruitful for discovery of both fundamental aspects of f-element chemistry,2,3 and new reactivity modalities,4 based on 4f-orbital participation. For this talk, recent results will be presented on our studies of organometallic complexes of cerium(IV) and related tetravalent metals showing unique participation of 4f-orbitals in bonding and reactivity.5 We have posited that 4f-orbital engagement can also alter reactivity of lanthanide complexes with properly designed ligand frameworks and reaction manifolds.6 Our efforts toward these goals, for the purposes of selective, inter-lanthanide reactive separations, will also be discussed.


References [1] Y. Qiao; E. J. Schelter Acc. Chem. Res. 2018, 51, 2926-2936. [2] T. Cheisson; K. D. Kersey; N. Mahieu; A. McSkimming; M. R. Gau; P. J. Carroll; E. J. Schelter, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2019, 141, 9185-9190. [3] G. B. Panetti; D.-C. Sergentu; M. R. Gau; P. J. Carroll; J. Autschbach; P. J. Walsh; E. J. Schelter, Nat. Commun. 2021, 12, 1713. [4] Q. Yang; Y.-H. Wang; Y. Qiao; M. Gau; P. J. Carroll; P. J. Walsh; E. J. Schelter, Science 2021, 372, 847–852. [5] H. H. Wilson; X. Yu; T. Cheisson; P. W. Smith; P. Pandey; P. J. Carroll; S. G. Minasian; J. Autschbach; E. J. Schelter J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2023, 145, 781–786. [6] J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2023, 145 (30), 16374–16382.



Eric J. Schelter obtained his B.S. from Michigan Tech in 1999. In 2004, he received his Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry from Texas A&M University working with Prof. Kim Dunbar and he conducted postdoctoral research at Los Alamos National Laboratory between 2004-2009 with Dr. Jaqueline Kiplinger. In 2009, Eric was appointed as an Assistant Professor at the University of Pennsylvania where he rose through the ranks and was named the Hirschmann-Makineni Professor of Chemistry in 2023. In 2017, he received the U.S. EPA Green Chemistry Challenge Award for his efforts in fundamental rare earth separations. He has also received the 2020 Inorganic Chemistry Lectureship from the ACS, the 2022 Anders Gustaf Ekeberg Tantalum Prize, and the 2023 Wilhelm Schlenk Lectureship Award. He was also part of a team that was awarded a 2023 RSC Horizon Prize for Education for outreach work related to rare earth metals. In 2023 he was elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. His group’s research interests include synthetic lanthanide and actinide coordination and organometallic chemistry, electronic structure studies, catalysis, and sustainable metals separations methodologies.

Host: Prof. Lauren Ehehelt / Prof. Jesse Martinez