The vast majority of theses in this collection are open access and freely available. There are a small number of theses that have access restricted to the WWU campus. For off-campus access to a thesis labeled "Campus Only Access," please log in here with your WWU universal ID, or talk to your librarian about requesting the restricted thesis through interlibrary loan.

Date Permissions Signed


Date of Award

Spring 2016

Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Gilbertson, John D.

Second Advisor

Murphy, Amanda R.

Third Advisor

Rider, David A. (Materials scientist)


The activation of small molecules has been studied by the scientific field for many decades as it plays a key role in nature such as photosynthesis and respiration. Many of these reactions are catalyzed by metalloenzymes in nature where the transfer of electrons and protons are coupled for the reaction to move forward. Noncovalent interactions in the secondary coordination sphere of metalloenzymes play an important role in determining the activity and selectivity. Hydrogen bonds are the most common noncovalent interactions that metalloenzymes utilize to control the reactivity in the secondary coordination sphere. Therefore, it is important to develop compounds and catalysts that can move both protons and electrons. Recent studies have been done by several groups on the mechanism of nitrite reduction. Based on those findings, we developed a series of iron (II) pyridinediimine (PDI) complexes that contain pendant bases, with varying pKa values, located in the secondary coordination sphere. These ligands were synthesized, coordinated to iron (II) and reduced under carbon monoxide (CO) to store electrons within the ligand scaffold. These reduced complexes were then protonated to form hydrogen bonds and fine tune the reactivity. These PDI complexes that are capable of storing both electrons and protons were investigated to functionally mimic the metalloenzyme nitrite reductase. To date, the mechanism of nitrite reduction remains unknown. In an attempt to determine how nitrite binds to the metal of our PDI complex, we synthesized a dinitrosyl iron complex. The synthesis of this complex should help to determine the mechanism of nitrite reduction.





Western Washington University

OCLC Number


Subject – LCSH

Iron catalysts; Denitrification; Nitrites; Metalloenzymes




masters theses




Copying of this document in whole or in part is allowable only for scholarly purposes. It is understood, however, that any copying or publication of this thesis for commercial purposes, or for financial gain, shall not be allowed without the author's written permission.

Included in

Chemistry Commons