Research Overview

Research in the Lin lab lies in the broadly defined area of organic chemistry, with specific interests in electrosynthesis, catalysis, and organic materials. We develop interdisciplinary approaches to address unsolved problems in organic synthesis and sustainable chemistry. Particular emphases will be placed on the rational design of catalysts and the creative use of electrochemistry, which will allow for facile and selective conversion of readily available starting materials (e.g., sugars, CO2, and other abundant naturally occurring feedstocks) into highly functionalized and value-added products (e.g., pharmaceuticals and polymers).

Electrochemistry represents an efficient and sustainable approach to discovering new organic reactions. The introduction of small-molecule catalysts would further enhance the efficiency and selectivity of electrochemical reactions. We will explore the combination of electrochemistry and catalysis to innovate synthetic organic chemistry.

Radical redox catalysis
Owing to the high reactivity and unique selectivity patterns exhibited by organic radicals, the discovery of new reactions mediated by these open-shell intermediates can provide solutions to synthetic problems challenging to traditional two-electron chemistry. We will design catalysts that can both promote the selective generation of organic radicals and regulate their downstream reactivity.

Organic materials
We will exploit our expertise in synthetic chemistry and catalysis to develop new methodologies for the synthesis of important organic materials, such as polymers and porous organic frameworks. A particular interest of ours lies on exerting control over the stereochemistry and microscopic topology of the materials—important factors that influence their properties—by catalyst design.