|Résumé: ||A major driving force for development of new catalyst systems is the need for more efficient synthesis of chemical compounds essential to modern life. Catalysts having superior performance offer significant environmental and economic advantages, but their discovery is not trivial. Well-defined, homogeneous catalysts can offer unparalleled understanding of ligand effects, which proves invaluable in directing redesign strategies. This thesis work focuses on the design of ruthenium complexes for applications in dinitrogen activation and olefin metathesis. The complexes developed create new directions in small-molecule activation and asymmetric catalysis by late-metal complexes.
Also examined are the dual challenges, ubiquitous in catalysis, of adequate interrogation of catalyst structure and performance. Insight into both is essential to enable correlation of ligand properties with catalyst activity and/or selectivity. Improved methods for accelerated assessment of catalyst performance are described, which expand high-throughput catalyst screening to encompass parallel acquisition of kinetic data. A final aspect focuses on direct examination of metal complexes, both as isolated species, and under catalytic conditions. Applications of charge-transfer MALDI mass spectrometry to structural elucidation in organometallic chemistry is described, and the technique is employed to gain insight into catalyst decomposition pathways under operating conditions.|