Targeting Energy Solutions: From Fundamental to Applied Inorganic Redox Chemistry

Who: Prof. Gabriel Menard, UC Santa Barbara Chemistry and Biochemistry

When: Friday, January 10th 2020 at 2pm

Where: D’Iorio Hall, room 214


This talk will broadly focus on designing and investigating main-group and/or transition-metal based redox-active molecules, targeted for use in fundamentally new bond activation chemistry and energy applications. The first part will focus on the design of redox-active metal complexes bearing redox non-innocent ligands for use in either chemical or electrochemical energy storage applications. Here, the talk will mostly center on the design of new charge carriers for solution and slurry-based redox-flow battery applications for grid-scale energy storage. The second part will focus on our recent work investigating new cooperative main-group/transition metal reactivity involving P(+5)=O centers linked to V redox-active cores. Here, we have uncovered that coupling these partners can enable fundamentally new reactivity at the (typically innocent) P=O fragment mimicking a proposed proton-coupled electron transfer pathway involved in industrial alkane C–H activation chemistry. Lastly, our most recent results on an extension of this P=O chemistry will be presented which feature the applied, electrochemically-driven capture and release of U using cluster carborane chemistry.


Born and raised in Eastern Ontario, Gabriel Menard completed his B.Sc. in Chemistry at the University of Ottawa in 2006 after research stays in both Scaiano and Gambarotta labs. He then moved to the west coast to under-take his M.Sc. at UBC working on early metal dinitrogen activation in Prof. Mike Fryzuk's group (2008). Mr. Menard then pursued another one of his passions, studying climate change and its impacts, by completing a Master's in Environmental Studies (M.E.S.) at York University (2010). In 2009, he joined Prof. Doug Stephan's group at the University of Toronto to undertake his Ph.D. studies working on small molecule activation using P/Al-based frustrated Lewis pairs, finishing up in 2013. Finally, Dr. Menard went state-side to pursue his post-doctoral studies in Prof. Ted Betley's group at Harvard University. Here, he gained experience working on first-row transition metal clusters investigating metal-metal communication, high-valent Ni clusters, and small molecule activation. He joined the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at UCSB in 2015.

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