1-Methyl-3-alkyl-2(3H)imidazolethione Complexes of Metal Halides: A Thematic-Ligand Approach to Involve Undergraduates in Research Projects


Chemistry and Biochemistry

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A method used to attract undergraduates into research projects is described. The method incorporates the thematic ligand approach using a class of thiourea-type ligands known as 1-methyl-3-alkyl-2(3H)-imidazotethiones to make new metal and nonmetal halide addn. products. A related selenium analog and a bidentate thione are also employed in the process, which to date has produced 24 new compds. The students start the work as a team research project in an intermediate inorg. synthesis lab. course by first making the ligand and then its addn. product which is characterized by std. methods during the course. Many of the attempts are failures, but teams that produce new compds. often go on to research projects that result in further structural characterization through collaborative efforts with the Georgia Institute of Technol. or with Clemson University. A case study involving the synthesis and characterization of 1-methyl-3-(2-propyl)-imidazole-2(3H)-thione (mipit) and its bismuth trichloride adduct, BiCl3 (mipit)2 is presented.