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Our group

Lukasz Pilarski

Principal investigator

Jagadeesh Kalepu

Postdoc

Shengjun Ni

Postdoc

Fredric Ingner

PhD student

Matic Hribersek

PhD student

Swarna Baddigam

Masters student

Klaudia Kollárová

Erasmus exchange

Tobias Kaper

Erasmus exchange

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Our research in a nutshell

New organic molecules are crucial to progress in medicine, materials and innumerable other areas of science that underpin modern society. Unfortunately, making molecules that have just the right properties is often difficult and inefficient. The world needs new strategies for making functional molecules in cheaper, safer and more environmentally sustainable ways. This is the core of our research. We combine several approaches and our work is a blend of fundamental and applied science.

Green Chemistry is a broad field concerned with making chemistry environmentally friendlier and safe. We use several different approaches to address this in our research.

For example, we use and develop various catalytic reactions. Catalysis is one of the 12 Principles of Green Chemistry, although it also speaks to several others, such as using milder conditions, minimising waste generation.

About 70% of the waste produced by industrial pharmaceutical production – just for example – is solvent. Many solvents are toxic. We work on using mechanochemistry to overcome this. Mechanochemistry mixes and reacts molecules using high energy collisions in a special purpose built mill without using solvent at all.

Almost all organic molecules contain many different, supposedly unreactive C-H bonds. We work on developing new reactions that can transform these into various different functional groups. In principle, this is one of the fastest ways of building desired complexity into a molecule.

We primarily use transition metals as the catalysts that can carry out C-H activation reactions. This takes us into the world of organometallics and investigating the mechanisms by which these reactions happen.

The essence of organic synthesis is based on manipulating “functional groups” in a molecule – groups that often define its key features. Arynes are highly reactive molecules with a fantastically versatile functional group: a triple bond in a 5- or 6-membered ring. These can be converted to literally hundreds of other valuable groups in one step under mild conditions.

Arynes, therefore, have a huge potential in efficient synthesis. However, a lot of that potential is inaccessible because the synthesis of convenient (and diverse!) aryne precursors is often inefficient. We work to address this and, equally importantly, on new methods to control the selectivity with which the triple bond reacts, ie. which of its two carbons forms bonds with what in a given reaction.

Contact

to send stuff

Dr Lukasz Pilarski
BOX 576, Uppsala University
75 123, Uppsala
Sweden

to visit

Husargatan 3, Uppsala

email

lukasz dot pilarski at kemi dot uu dot se

Funding

We thank these generous sponsors who enable us to pursue our research.