Our ResearCH

We study new ways to make molecules.

Organic molecules underpin all life and the modern world. They are in constant demand for use in medicines, materials and many aspects of fundamental research. Unfortunately, the synthesis of organic molecules is often wasteful, expensive and toxic for both people and the environment.

Our group works on inventing and understanding new types of reactions to make the synthesis of organic molecules greener, cheaper and faster. Our research is both fundamental and applied. We collaborate with other scientists in industry and academia, nationally and internationally.

Conventional synthesis uses bulk solvent to ensure reacting compounds can be mixed and heated. However, solvent is also a source of huge amounts of waste and, often, the ‘best’ solvents are toxic or environmentally harmful. We explore using mechanochemistry as an alternative. Mechanical force applied at controlled frequencies can mix and activate compounds towards reacting without any solvent present. Better still, this often results in shorter reaction times and even alternative reaction pathways that give access to previously impossible molecules.

Arynes are fascinating reactive molecules that can be generated under mild conditions. They’re short-lived, but but they can be ‘trapped’ in a huge variety of ways. When this happens, they make two new bonds in one step, which is very useful for building molecules. Arynes can react like this with almost any element a chemist might be interested in. Thus, they have huge potential to make synthesis more direct and efficient. We study how to control arynes in new ways to better understand them and make them as useful as possible in diverse contexts.

Organic molecules contain lots of different C-H bonds. Most of these have traditionally been considered ‘inert’. C-H activation is a way of getting them to react, for example, by using catalysts. These allow C-H bonds converted to other type of bonds, which can give molecules important new properties. This is, in principle, one of the most direct ways of building the compounds society needs. We develop new C-H activation methods and seek to understand and apply them in new ways.

Green chemistry is a broad field. It aims at making reactions and processes safer and environmentally sustainable. Our group’s research approaches this in several ways. We are interested in developing new, very versatile ‘building block’ molecules. These will reduce the number of required steps to make a desired molecule. We also develop new types of catalysis that convert traditionally ‘unreactive’ C-H bonds to other functional groups – one of the most direct ways of building up molecules. And we use mechanochemistry to make reactions happen without needing toxic or environmentally damaging solvents or high, costly temperatures.

We thank our sponsors!

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WANT TO DO SOME COOL RESEARCH?

We are always interested in hearing from talented, passionate chemists who want to work on projects in synthetic methodology, catalysis, organometallics and related topics.
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Contact

Our group is part of the Organic Chemistry research program in the Department of Chemistry at Uppsala University’s Biomedical Centre (BMC).

TO SEND US SOMETHING

Department of Chemistry – BMC
Box 576
Uppsala University
75-123 Uppsala
Sweden

 lukasz dot pilarski at kemi dot uu dot se

TO VISIT

Department of Chemistry – BMC
Husargatan 3
Uppsala