The principle goal of our research is to develop fundamentally new catalytic transformations and technology for the construction of important organic compounds with small gaseous building blocks.
We study catalysis based on transition metals and main group elements for promoting efficient carbon–carbon and carbon–heteroatom bond formation with low molecular weight molecules such as carbon monoxide, ethylene, hydrogen cyanide and acetylene. These small building blocks are ideal for the construction of many bioactive molecules, which are of high interest to the pharmaceutical and agrochemical industry, but also for the introduction of isotope labeling with carbon-11, -13 and -14. An additional goal is to identify fundamentally new chemistry for the activation of CO2, thereby providing sustainable solutions for the exploitation of this unwanted combustion product as a valuable reagent to high-value chemicals of industrial importance. This latter research is currently housed under the new Danish National Research Center, the Carbon Dioxide Activation Center (CADIAC).
Many of our projects have an applied focus and involve collaboration with academic and industry partners. Furthermore, our work has led to the creation of a start-up company, SyTracks, which commercializes carbonylation technologies and know-how.