The research in my group focuses on mechanistic and structural aspects of organic chemistry. Specifically, we are intersted in the structure of onium ions. Onium ions are electron deficient molecules containing a hypervalent atom bridging two carbon atoms. We want to know whether onium ions are symmetric, containing equal C-X bond orders, or an equilibrium of asymmetric structures, containing unequal bond orders. Our goal is to understand the factors that determine an atom's ability to bridged electron deficient centers.
Halonium Ions. We have recently studied the structure of 1,2-bridged chloronium and bromonium ions. Our results indicate that the symmetric halonium ion is not the sole species present under the experimental conditions. Our goals in this project have been to determine which asymmetric structures exist and why the symmetric structure is not predominant.
Aziridinium Imide. In a similar problem to halonium ion symmetry, we will study the intermediates formed in the ene reaction. Aziridinium imide can be represented as a symmetric structure with equal C-N bonds or as an equilibrium of asymmetric structures with unequal C-N bonds.