Main Group Chemistry & Functional Polymeric Materials

Our research focuses on the development of new routes to polydentate Lewis acids and functional polymeric materials for applications in catalysis and materials chemistry. We engage in research in the following specific areas:

  • Project A: We use controlled polymerization techniques (ATRP, RAFT, ROMP, etc) for the preparation of functional polymers and nanostructured materials. Current directions include:

(1) Development of luminescent nanostructures through block copolymer and star polymer assembly (example shown).

(2) Investigation of pyridylborate and pyridylsilane ligand-functionalized polymers as precursors to stimuli-responsive metallopolymers (example shown).

(3) Studies on polymer-supported "Frustrated Lewis Pairs" and their application in catalysis.

  • Project B: We explore electronically interesting conjugated polymers, in which electron deficient organoborane moieties are attached to or embedded into a pi-conjugated polymer main chain. These novel materials are of interest for applications as sensors (anions, toxic amines, etc) and as n-type optoelectronic device materials (for OLEDs, photovoltaics, etc). Current directions include:

(1) Controlled polymerization of conjugated organoboranes. A key aspect is to develop highly electron-deficient borane monomers that are stable to air and stable under a variety of polymerization conditions. Another important aspect is to introduce new metal-catalyzed polymerization methods that provide architectural control.

(2) Exploration of electron-deficient and ambipolar macrocycles. This is based on our recent discovery of conjugated boracyclophanes, the first examples of large electron-deficient boracycles (shown).

(3) Investigation of boron-doped polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).

  • Project C: We pursue new methods for the preparation of redox-active ferrocene-based Lewis acids and Lewis pairs. An example of an unusual chiral ferrocenylborenium cation that was used as a catalyst for stereoselective hydrosilylation of ketones is shown. Most recently we have introduced a new class of planar chiral Lewis pairs. We study their reactivity, binding behavior, redox properties, and applications in Lewis acid and Frustrated Lewis Pair (FLP) catalysis and small molecule activation.
  • Project D: We explore the chemistry of organocopper compounds such as pentafluorophenyl copper, with an emphasis on the generation of novel luminescent supramolecular structures via cuprophilic and pi-stacking interactions (shown). These supramolecular assemblies are formed upon complexation with Lewis basic substrates. In yet another application pentafluorophenyl copper is used as a highly selective aryl transfer reagent for the preparation of perfluoroarylboranes.


Our research has been generously supported by the following agencies:



The following are some recent review articles on our work and on organoborane chemistry in general:

(1) F. Jäkle, Chapter in Encyclopedia of Inorganic Chemistry, 2nd edition, Ed. B. King, Wiley-VCH, Weinheim, 2005; pp 560-598; "Boron: Organoboranes

(2) F. Jäkle, J. Inorg. Organomet. Polym. Mater. (invited review) 2005, 15, 293-307; "Borylated Polyolefins and their Applications".

(3) F. Jäkle, Coord. Chem. Rev. (invited review) 2006, 250, 1107-1121; "Lewis-Acidic Boron Polymers".

(4) F. Jäkle, Dalton Trans. (invited perspective) 2007, 2851-2858; "Pentafluorophenyl copper: aggregation and complexation phenomena, photoluminescence properties, and applications as reagent in organometallic synthesis".

(5) F. Jäkle, Chem. Rev. 2010, 110, 3985-4220; "Advances in the Synthesis of Organoborane Polymers for Optical, Electronic, and Sensory Applications".

(6) F. Cheng, F. Jäkle, Polym. Chem. 2011, 2, 2122-2132; "Boron-Containing Polymers as Versatile Building Blocks for Functional Nanostructured Materials".

(7) A. Doshi, F. Jäkle; Chapter 1.30 in Jan Reedijk, Kenneth Poeppelmeier, Eds. Comprehensive Inorganic Chemistry II, Vol 1. Oxford: Elsevier; 2013, p 861-891; "Boron-Containing Polymers".



Copyright © F. Jäkle / Last Updated June 2014