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Host: Basu

Iron plays a central role in the two major processes that convert nitrogen in the atmosphere to fertilizers needed for the food on our plates. The enzyme nitrogenase uses an iron-sulfur cluster, while the Haber-Bosch process uses a solid iron catalyst. Both of them use iron active sites, which motivates the study of new iron complexes and how they interact with N2. I will discuss our synthesis of low-coordinate iron coordination compounds, which have led to new insights into N2 binding and breaking the N-N bond. In an area of particular interest, we have created iron sites that are coordinated by biologically relevant sulfur and carbon donors, and studied their structures, spectroscopy, and reactivity. This seminar will discuss the mechanisms of formation and reactivity of new biomimetic Fe-N2 complexes, and explore the implications toward nitrogenase mechanisms.