The aim of this project is to prepare a new class of iron-sulfur clusters, those having interstitial light atoms, and to thoroughly characterise their chemistry. The clusters will have good structural fidelity for the remarkable FeMo-cofactor of nitrogenase.
The research has particular significance because nitrogenase is the enzyme that catalyses the biological fixation of nitrogen from the atmosphere. It is the primary route for entry of nitrogen into living systems.
The expected outcomes of this research include new iron-sulfur cluster chemistry, fresh insights about FeMoco and about complex catalyses of multi-electron, multi-proton processes in general, and knowledge informing new energy-efficient catalyst designs for nitrogen fixation and related industrial processes.