Prof. Christian Silvio Pomelli
PhD project Title:
Semi-rigid Task Specific Dicationic Ionic Liquids as artificial enzymes and drug delivery systems
Enzyme-catalyzed reactions are of great interest and found useful applications in bioorganic and pharmacologic fields. It has been reported that the use of non-aqueous solvents less polar than water has beneficial effect upon several aspects of an enzymatic reaction such as for instance the solubility of reagents/products, their hydrolysis and the recovery of the biocatalyst. Ionic liquids are organic salts obtained by the combination of an organic cation and an anion which can be of organic or inorganic nature. Their potential in chemical sciences has been explored and led to interesting applications such as their use as solvents for high temperature organic synthesis, zeolite synthesis, biomass conversion, cellulose dissolution, dye-sensitized solar cells preparations, and CO2 capture. They are also used in metal and enzymatic reactions as their properties can be finely tuned by changing the cation or the anion to optimize the efficiency of a reaction. Even if they are usually employed as solved or co-solvent, some ionic liquids have already been used as catalyst of organic reactions. Chloroaluminate(III) ionic liquids, for example, have been successfully employed for electrophilic substitutions, Friedel-Crafts acylations, olefin dimerizations and olefin hydrogenations. Dicationic ionic liquids (DILs) are a new class of ionic liquids that possess two head groups (cationic sites) linked by a spacer, either rigid or fairly flexible. DILs present valuable advantages over the monocationic ionic liquids, like higher thermal stability and lower critical micelle concentration (CMC) values. Due to their properties, their applications span from lubrication to organic synthesis. Dicationic ionic liquids have unique structures that allow them to be selective for certain types of compounds. This property was already efficiently exploited to separate aromatics from aliphatic compounds.