POMOST 8/2013 Project



Research on the catalytical activity of organozinc complexes in epoxidation of enones and polymerization of lactide

Project leader: Dr. Karolina Zelga

POMOST programme of Foundation for Polish Science is cofinanced from the European Union Operational Programme Innovative Economy 2007-2013 – “Strengthening the human potential in the science sector”.



Project description

Organozinc complexes are intensively investigated for their applications in various stiochiometric and catalytic reactions, as reagents in asymmetric organic synthesis, catalysts in polymerization of olefines and hetrocyclic monomers and as precursors of functional materials. Particular role in the chemistry of organozinc compounds is played by chelate complexes because of their applications in asymmetric synthesis of organic compounds and polymerization processes.

The aim of the first stage of the proposed project is synthesis of chelate zinc complexes supported by N,N and N,O-bifunctional ligands. Next, the research on the reactions of the obtained chelate zinc complexes with molecular oxygen is planned. This topic will be additionally extended by an investigation on the reactivity of dialkylzinc complexes with neutral nitrogen-nitrogen ligands towards O2. This research will be a continuation of the extensive research carried out in the parent group on the activation of molecular oxygen by main group metals’ organometallic compounds.

The main concern of the project will be testing the activity of the obtained and characterized zinc complexes of the LZnOOR or LZnOR type in stereoselective oxygenation of enones and polymerization of heterocyclic monomers.

An integral part of the work will be investigation of the structure of the obtained complexes using spectral methods and rentgenostructural techniques allowing for analysis of the structure of monocrystalline systems.

In the framework of the presented project the following tasks are planned to be undertaken:

  1. Synthesis and structure characterization of N,N- and N,O-ligands and the corresponding metal complexes.
  2. Investigation on the reactions of alkylzinc complexes with dioxygen.
  3. Research on the catalytic activity of ROOZnL systems in epoxidation of enones.
  4. Research on the activity of ROOZnL and ROZnL systems as a initiators in polymerization of lactide.

Preparation of the starting alkylzinc complexes requires strictly oxygen- and moisture free conditions. Such a technique has been successfully used in the parent group for many years. The obtained alkylzinc complexes and their oxygenated derivatives will be analyzed using single-crystal X-ray analysis allowing for determination of the structure of monocrystalline systems, proton magnetic resonance (1H NMR) and mass spectrometry (MS). Analysis of the epoxidation reaction yield will be performed using gas chromatography (GC). Analysis of the obtained polymers will be performed with the use of ESI-MS and MALDI-TOF.


  1. Professor Peter Roesky, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany
  2. Professor Piotr Sobota, University of Wrocław, Poland


Recruitment procedure is now closed. Application deadline was April 27, 2015.

Recruitment Procedure

Recruitment committee will be established and it will be responsible for the whole recruitment process. Committee will be comprised of 2 persons including the project leader and an external specialist (organometallic chemist). A representative of the Foundation of Polish Science will be also invited to participate in the recruitment procedure. The recruitment will be performed in an open, two-step procedure (Application and Appointment Process).

Document Submission

Open Recruitment Candidates must submit the following documents:


  • completion of at least 3rd year of studies in year of studies in organometallic or organic chemistry or related field
  • good command in English

Selection will be based on:

  • grade point average
  • research experience in organometallic and organic chemistry
  • achievements (awards, prizes, scholarships)
  • knowledge of English


Top candidates in each group will be invited for an appointment before the same Recruitment Committee. Applicants may be interviewed in Polish or English. International candidates may be interviewed via Skype. Final decision will be reached upon judgment of the scientific experience, fields of interest and potential input into the project, which the candidate can bring. Detailed report describing all stages of the selection procedure will be written, signed and reported to the Foundation for Polish Science.