Chae Yi photo

Chae S. Yi, Ph.D.
Professor, Inorganic and Organometallic Chemistry, Homogeneous Catalysis
Phone: 414-288-3536

Visit the Yi research group's homepage.

Professor Yi received his B.S. degree from the University Michigan-Ann Arbor in 1987 and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1991. After completing a postdoctoral training at the Pennsylvania State University (1992-93), he joined the department in 1993, and was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure in 2000 and Professor in 2011.  His area of research is inorganic chemistry, and has been teaching undergraduate/graduate courses in that area.   His publication record includes over 46 publications in inorganic chemistry, most of them in American Chemical Society journals.  He recently received an NSF grant studying catalytic C-H bond activation reactions.  This work will develop new "green" catalytic processes that will give desired products efficiently without forming wasteful byproducts under environmentally compatible conditions.

Research Interests

 Catalytic C-H Bond Activation and Functionalization Reactions. Transition metal catalyzed C-H bond activation reaction is a powerful synthetic method for forming functionalized products directly from unreactive hydrocarbons, and has enormous synthetic potentials for developing chemical processes ranging from petroleum products to pharmaceutical agents. Catalytic C-H bond activation method also has high potential for “reforming” fossil fuels and biomass for obtaining clean and environmentally sustainable chemical energy. One of the long term goals of our group’s research to design effective metal catalysts, which can facilitate efficient and selective C-H bond activation reactions of synthetic importance. This research group recently discovered a number of highly effective coupling reactions involving C-H bond activation (see below reaction scheme) by using well-defined ruthenium catalysts. We are currently investigating the detailed reaction mechanisms of these catalytic reactions, and are searching for novel C-H coupling reactions of synthetic importance by using well-defined ruthenium catalysts.

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Cooperative Ruthenium Catalysts for Unreactive Bond Activation Reactions.  Another major area of our group’s research centers on the synthetic and mechanistic study of the cooperative reactivity of multinuclear ruthenium catalysts for synthetically useful chemical transformations. Cooperative catalysis by multinuclear transition metal complexes has long been regarded as an effective way to control and regulate chemical reactions that are normally difficult to achieve from monometallic ones, and can serve as functional models for natural allosteric metalloenzymes. Multinuclear ruthenium cluster complexes have long been considered as functional models for promoting cooperative activity for unreactive C-H, C-C and C-N bond activation reactions. We recently discovered that the bi- and tetrametallic ruthenium-hydroxo complexes are highly cooperative catalysts for the alcohol oxidation and nitride hydration reactions, and are studying to attain fundamental mechanistic knowledge on the cooperative nature of the ruthenium-hydroxo catalysts for these reactions. We are also engaged in designing and utilization of new cooperative metal catalysts for other coupling reactions involving C-H bond activation.

Selected examples of the catalytic reactions developed in our research group:


Selected Publications (2005-present):

* “Dehydrative C-H Alkylation and Alkenylation of Phenols with Alcohols: Expedient Synthesis for Substituted Phenols and Benzofurans,” Lee, D.-H.; Kwon, K.-H.; Yi, C. S. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2012, 134, 7325-7328. (one of the ten most downloaded JACS articles in April 2012)

* “Selective Catalytic C-H Alkylation of Alkenes with Alcohols,” Lee, D.-H.; Kwon, K.-H.; Yi, C. S. Science 2011, 333, 1613-1617. (highlighted in the same Science issue (p. 1547) and C&EN magazine (September 19, 2011))

* “Tetrasubstituted Olefins through the Stereoselective Catalytic Intermolecular Conjugate Addition of Simple Alkenes to a,b-Unsaturated Carbonyl Compounds,” Kwon, K.-H.; Lee, D. W.; Yi, C. S. Angew. Chem., Int. Ed. 2011, 50, 1692-1695.

* “Chelate-Assisted Oxidative Coupling Reaction of Arylamides and Unactivated Alkenes: Mechanistic Evidence for Vinyl C-H Bond Activation Promoted by an Electrophilic Ruthenium-Hydride Catalyst,” Kwon, K.-H.; Lee, D. W.; Yi, C. S. Organometallics 2010, 29, 5748-5760.

* Efficient Dehydrogenation of Amines and Carbonyl Compounds Catalyzed by a Tetranuclear Ruthenium-m-Oxo-m-Hydroxo Complex,” Yi, C. S.; Lee, D. W. Organometallics 2009, 28, 947-949.

* “Aqueous Phase C-H Bond Oxidation Reaction of Arylalkanes Catalyzed by a Water-Soluble Cationic Ru(III) Complex [(pymox-Me2)2RuCl2]+BF4-,” Yi, C. S.; Kwon, K.-H.; Lee, D. W. Org. Lett. 2009, 11, ASAP.

* “Kinetic, Spectroscopic and X-Ray Crystallographic Evidence for the Cooperative Mechanism of the Hydration of Nitrides Catalyzed by a Tetranuclear Ruthenium-m-Oxo-m-Hydroxo Complex,” Yi, C. S.; Zeczycki, T. N.; Lindeman, S. V. Organometallics 2008, 27, 2030-2035.

* “Formation of Bicyclic Pyrroles from the Catalytic Coupling Reaction of 2,5-Disubstituted Pyrroles with Terminal Alkynes involving Multiple C-H Bond Activation,” Yi, C. S.; Zhang, J. Chem. Commun. 2008, 2349-2351.

* “Highly Cooperative Tetrametallic Ruthenium-m-Oxo-m-Hydroxo Complex for the Alcohol Oxidation Reaction,” Yi, C. S.; Zeczycki, T. N.; Guzei, I. A. Organometallics 2006, 25, 1046-1051.

* “Scope and Mechanistic Study of the Ruthenium-Catalyzed Ortho-C-H Bond Activation and Cyclization Reactions of Arylamines with Terminal Alkynes,” Yi, C. S.; Yun, S. Y. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2005, 127, 17000-17006.

* “Catalytic Synthesis of Tricyclic Quinoline Derivatives from the Regioselective Hydroamination and C-H Bond Activation of Benzocyclic Amines and Alkynes,” Yi, C. S.; Yun, S. Y.; Guzei, I. A. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2005, 127, 5782-5783.

* “Ruthenium-Catalyzed Intermolecular Coupling Reactions of Arylamines with Ethylene and 1,3-Dienes: A Mechanistic Insight on Hydroamination vs ortho-C-H Bond Activation,” Yi, C. S.; Yun, S. Y. Org. Lett. 2005, 7, 2181-2183.



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