Professor Brown received a B.S. in chemistry in 1988 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1994, he obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Washington, where he studied the reaction chemistry of rhenium oxo complexes. After spending two years as a postdoctoral fellow at the California Institute of Technology, he joined the faculty at Notre Dame in 1996. Professor Brown was a recipient of the Camille and Henry Dreyfus New Faculty Award for 1996 and the 1998 DuPont Young Faculty Award, and the 2000 Union Carbide Innovation Recognition Program. In 2011 he was named a Fellow of the American Chemical Society.
Developing Catalysis for Energy and the Environment
Enhancing our understanding of the mechanisms of chemical reactions is critical to improving processes to interconvert efficiently between chemical and electrical energy or to make chemical products in an environmentally benign way. The Brown group is addressing this overarching problem through studies in two basic areas.
The first area of research is in oxidation reactions. Traditionally, redox reactions mediated by metals involve changes in both oxidation state and bonding that directly involve those metal centers. We are exploring an alternative mode of redox reactivity, what we term "nonclassical" redox reactions, where bond-making or bond-breaking events occur at a metal center but oxidations or reductions occur not at the metal center but at redox-active ligands attached to the metal. These processes generate novel species with unusual electronic structure, which may be capable of unusual reactivity. Furthermore, separating the locus of electron transfer from that of changes in bonding mimics the heterogeneous catalysis involved in fuel cells, suggesting that nonclassical homogeneous reactions may lead to conceptual insights or practical advances in systems for interconverting electrical and chemical energy.
A second area of research is in catalysis directed toward chemical synthesis. We are interested in elucidating general features of the electronic structure of catalysts that enhance or impede their efficiency. For example, recent studies have suggested that for a broad class of reactions that involve binding to two sites on a catalyst, the electronic similarity or dissimilarity of the sites can have a marked effect on the efficiency of catalysis. We then use these principles to design new catalysts for useful transformations. A recent target is catalyzing the use of the noxious pollutant NO2 to selectively make nitroorganics from hydrocarbons.
“Redox-active tetrahydrosalen (salan) complexes of titanium,” Mauricio Quiroz-Guzman, Allen G. Oliver, Andrew J. Loza, and Seth N. Brown, Dalton Trans. 2011, 40, 11458-11468.Link
“Gauging electronic dissymmetry in bis-chelates of titanium(IV) using sterically and electronically variable 2,2'-biphenoxides,” Natcharee Kongprakaiwoot, Mauricio Quiroz-Guzman, Allen G. Oliver, and Seth N. Brown, Chemical Science 2011, 2, 331-336.Link
“Metrical Oxidation States of 2-Amidophenoxide and Catecholate Ligands: Structural Signatures of Metal-Ligand π Bonding in Potentially Noninnocent Ligands,” Seth N. Brown, Inorg. Chem. 2012, 51, 1251-1260.Link
“Molybdenum(VI) Complexes of a 2,2'-Biphenyl-bridged Bis(amidophenoxide): Competition Between Metal-Ligand and Metal-Amidophenoxide π Bonding,” Jason A. Kopec, Sukesh Shekar, and Seth N. Brown, Inorg. Chem. 2012, 51, 1239-1250.Link
“Nonclassical oxygen atom transfer reactions of oxomolybdenum(VI) bis(catecholate),” Travis Marshall-Roth, Sean C. Liebscher, Karl Rickert, Nicholas J. Seewald, Allen G. Oliver, and Seth N. Brown, Chem. Commun. 2012, 48, 7826-7828.Link
“Migrations of Alkyl and Aryl Groups from Silicon to Nitrogen in Silylated Aryloxyiminoquinones,” Sukesh Shekar and Seth N. Brown, Organometallics 2013, 32, 556-564.Link
- Professor and Director of Graduate Admissions
- Office: 269 Stepan Chemistry
- Phone: 574.631.4659
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Primary Research Areas
- Akram Hazeen
- Arnold Kidd
- Leila Amery Ranis
- Sukesh Shekar
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