Today, the 2014 Schering Prize has been awarded to Dr. Kristine Müther for her dissertation on "Generation, structure and reactivity of metallocene-stabilized silylium ions".
She completed her dissertation at the Berlin University of Technology under the supervision of UniCat Professor Dr. Martin Oestreich (Research Fields D2 and D3). The Schering Prize is awarded for the best dissertation in the field of chemistry in Berlin.
About the dissertation
In her dissertation, Kristine Müther studied positively charged silicon compounds, so-called silylium ions. For a long time, silicon chemists were busy just isolating such highly reactive compounds. To harness their reactivity for use as catalysts - i.e., to accelerate chemical reactions - these silylium ions have to be "tamed." This can be done, for example, by stabilizing them with a transition metal such as iron. Kristine Müther for the first time succeeded in "imaging" such stabilization of a positively charged silicon atom through an iron atom with the aid of X-ray structural analysis. As part of her work, she created a family of those reactive silicon compounds with different properties, studied their reactivity, and used them as catalysts for the synthesis of new silicon compounds. Silicon-based molecules today can be used, among other things, as intermediates in organic synthesis, for coatings, synthetics or the production of computer chips.
Kristine Müther was born in 1984 and studied chemistry at the University of Münster. Her studies were funded by a fellowhip of the Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes. During a research project in the group of Prof. Dr. Dominic Wright at the University of Cambridge, UK, she investigated the synthesis of phophorous-based radicals. For her diploma thesis she worked under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Martin Oestreich in Münster on rhodium-catalyzed borylation reactions.
She stayed with Prof. Oestreich for her doctoral studies and focused on the synthesis and characterization of metallocene-stabilized cationic silicon compounds - also funded by the Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes. As a member of the "International Research Training Group Münster - Nagoya," she also spent several months in the group of Prof. Dr. Kazuyuki Tatsumi in Nagoya, Japan, to work on a new catalytic activation of boranes by ruthenium-thiolate complexes. Having moved to the Technical University of Berlin, she finished her dissertation there in 2014. Since 2014 Kristine Müther has been working with Evonik Resource Efficiency GmbH.
The Schering Prize is valued at 5,000 euro and awarded annually by the Schering Foundation. The three universities of Berlin may nominate candidates for the award that honors the best dissertation in the field of chemistry. The prize was awarded for the first time in 1986.