Year of Graduation


Level of Access

Restricted Access Thesis

Embargo Period


Department or Program


First Advisor

Richard Broene


Linear alpha olefins (LAOs) are used as precursors to various shampoos, lubricants, and detergents, and are essential within the petrochemical industry. The goal of this project is to develop a cationic cobalt catalyst for the linear dimerization of LAOs. The current catalyst yields an unfavorable branched‑to‑linear product ratio, which is due to the steric bulk of the supporting ligand. To optimize the formation of the linear product, various para‑substituted phenylisonitriles are synthesized as a less bulky supporting ligand. These ligands are successfully coordinated to the neutral pre‑catalyst, and the pre‑catalyst is activated with a strong acid in the presence of linear alpha olefins to test dimerization.


Available only to users on the Bowdoin campus.