Improved Efficiency and Sustainability in Synthetic Nitrogen Fixation via Utilization of Proton-Coupled Electron Transfer
Matthew received his BS in chemistry from Yale in 2013 and was the co-director of the Yale Sustainability Service Corps. He then traveled to Germany to do research in synthetic inorganic chemistry with Professor Karsten Meyer as a Fulbright Fellow. He is currently a graduate student in the lab of Professor Jonas Peters, where his research focuses on the role that proton-coupled electron transfer plays in the reduction of dinitrogen (N2) to ammonia (NH3). This is a complicated reaction in which the addition of six protons and six electrons to the typically inert N2 molecule must be carefully managed to avoid the undesired formation of H2. This reaction is of interest because it is the key step in the process of generating fertilizer. Unfortunately, current industrial methods for NH3 synthesis from N2 use high temperatures, high pressures, and materials derived from fossil fuels and thus are not sustainable. Therefore, we hope to leverage our knowledge of the mechanism of this reaction to one day provide more sustainable technologies for the synthesis of fertilizer, a goal which will only become increasingly important as the human population continues to grow.
Adviser: Jonas C. Peters