On November 14, Dr. Ming-Yu Ngai presented his talk, “Visible-Light-Driven Artificial Photo-synthesis in Organic Synthesis” in the Special Collections Seminar Room of the Melville Library.
To lay the background, Dr. Ngai first explained the process of photosynthesis in which chlorophyll, a green pigment in plants, absorbs sunlight and converts the light energy into a usable form. He then highlighted the important use of fluorinated groups in pharmaceuticals, material science, agrichemicals, and medicine, including the trifluoromethoxy group (OCF3), which enhances bioactive molecules. Dr. Ngai further demonstrated how his lab is designing a simple chemical building block from the trifluoromethoxy group to allow new ways of chemical reactivity that will lead to the synthesis of complex molecules using visible light.
The interesting lecture was attended by graduate students, faculty, and staff.