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Alicia Peterson

Research/Professional Interests

My research group is interested in developing and studying potential ways to remediate contaminated groundwater. The major area of research is studying the kinetics and mechanism of catalytic dehalogenation reactions. One of the goals of studying dehalogenation reactions, is to help remediation efforts in place to clean up groundwater contaminated with EPA high priority pollutants: carbon-chlorine and carbon-fluorine containing molecules, including pharmaceuticals.

The current catalyst we are interested in is Rh-on-alumina using hydrogen gas as the reducing agent. Our group has been working on two related components of the project. One project is determining how the constituents of natural water (using water from Lake Sag at SJU) affect the rate of degradation of the catalyst, and thus ability to function in a real-world setting. The other project is using our catalytic system to see how different substituents affect the rate of breaking carbon-fluorine bonds. The next two research goals for this project are to synthesize homogeneous model complexes to further study the mechanism of catalytic carbon-fluorine bond breaking and study this catalytic system as a way to degrade pharmaceuticals.

A new group goal is to synthesize rhodium catalysts supported on molecular organic frameworks. Once they have been synthesized, we will then begin testing these complexes as carbon-fluorine bond activation catalysts to study the mechanism and the scope of the reactivity.

  • Education

    Ph.D., University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, 2009
    B.S., College of Saint Benedict, 2003