Alistair Boyer

Alistair Boyer

Group

Group

Research

Research

Publications

Publications

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Tools

Opportunities

Opportunities

Funding

Funding

Presentations

Presentations

Teaching

Teaching

Innovate > Discover > Create > Apply

Releasing energy stored within molecules can have powerful effects: steam bursts from the hard popcorn kernel creating a tasty snack; deploying an airbag can save your life in a collision; and explosives can shift thousands of tonnes of material in an instant.
Explosive compounds, including sodium azide (NaN3, the gas generator in some airbags), TNT (trinitrotoluene) and RDX (the chief ingredient in C-4 explosive) have a high percentage of nitrogen atoms as part of their chemical formulae. This is important because they can release nitrogen gas (N2), which is a very stable molecule making up almost 80% of our atmosphere, which also creates a huge amount of energy.
Our research takes the concept of using the energy from nitrogen release and translates it to a controlled setting on the molecular level using 1‑sulfonyl‑1,2,3‑triazoles: 1‑STs.

1,2,3-Triazoles are cyclic molecules containing five atoms, of which three are adjacent nitrogen atoms. In general, triazoles are stable and successfully used as a way of efficiently joining two molecular fragments together. However, in 1-sulfonyl triazoles: 1-STs, we use a sulfonyl group to carefully tune the reactivity profile. We are developing new reactions so that a tiny amount of catalyst can promote controlled loss of two of the nitrogen atoms from the 1-ST as nitrogen gas and capture the associated energy directing it towards formation of complex products with exquisite control and efficiency.


1-sulfonyl-1,2,3-triazoles: 1-STs


We have applied this strategy to design new and efficient synthesis of tetrahydrofurans: important molecules found at the heart of many bioactive compounds [see publication 12, publication 13]. We then applied this research to complete the first ever synthesis of petromyroxol, a natural molecule produced by the sea-lamprey [see publication 15]. This molecule could play an important part in the way that the sea lamprey finds its way back from open water to rivers to breed and we produced a significant amount of petromyroxol which unlocks the possibility for further study of this fascinating creature and its marine biology. Prof. Weiming Li who is a world-expert in the sea lamprey has more information on his group's website [Li Research Group, Michegan State University].


compounds made from 1-STs using this novel strategy
Sea Lampreypetromyroxol

We are continuing to extend this strategy to create bioactive compounds, novel powerful catalysts and next-generation organic materials.

Innovate > Discover > Create > Apply

Case Studies

Our research is focussed on creating novel catalyst systems to unlock energy stored within molecules for the controlled formation of value-added products.

Capabilities

We have world-class expertise across a wide-range of scientific areas.

Collaborate

We are always looking to strengthen our research through collaboration. If you would like to enquire about combining skillsets synergistically to maximise the impact of research, please contact:
collaborate@boyer-research.com

  • INNOVATE: We explore fundamental scientific questions at the cutting edge of chemical research to enhance and extend our knowledge and understanding of the natural world
  • DISCOVER: We build upon our expertise to discover new and highly efficient reactions to forge chemical bonds, turning readily available building blocks into value-added products
  • CREATE: We use our discoveries to create create new molecules with unexplored architectures in the highest efficiency and create novel catalyst systems to help maximise efficincy in chemical synthesis
  • APPLY: We are driven by current global challenges and direct our research ouput to provide solutions across a wide-range of fields from biology to materials science

Collaborations

We are always looking to strengthen our research through collaboration. If you would like to enquire about combining skillsets synergistically to maximise the impact of our research, please contact:
collaborate@boyer-research.com

alistair@boyer-research.com

School of Chemistry
Joseph Black Building
University of Glasgow
Glasgow, G12 8QQ, UK


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