Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Chair

Anusree Mukherjee

Committee Member

Bernhard Vogler

Committee Member

Carmen Scholz


Biomimetic materials, Carbon sequestration, Catalysts


Interest in the development of new technologies for the remediation of greenhouse gases such as methane and carbon dioxide has increased in response to concerns of a changing climate. However, methane and carbon dioxide are not only greenhouse gasses but also play interesting roles in biology, being used as sources of both energy and carbon. The study of enzymes that utilize these small molecules for biological function may provide valuable insight into developing practical solutions for carbon sequestration and utilizing them as alternative sources of energy. Learning from these enzymes, synthetic systems may be developed to address this challenging issue. The design of synthetic copper complexes that mimic the reactivity of enzymes such as particulate methane monooxygenase may represent a viable solution for the remediation of methane, as enzyme catalysis on an industrial scale can be cost prohibitive. Similarly, the hydration of carbon dioxide to form bicarbonate is catalyzed by enzymes known as carbonic anhydrases (CAs). Synthetic catalysts based on the zinc binding site of CA may be a promising solution for remediation of carbon dioxide. With this in mind, this thesis discusses the synthesis and characterization of a series of copper and zinc complexes in the context of carbon sequestration. Using ligands from the bispicen family, we synthesized four copper and zinc complexes and studied structure-function relationships relevant to hydrocarbon functionalization and carbon dioxide hydration. Being water-soluble, these model complexes may allow us to ultimately design more environmentally friendly processes.



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