Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

MS Chemistry


Chemistry and Biochemistry


Joseph Badillo, PhD

Committee Member

Cecilia Marzabadi, PhD

Committee Member

Cosimo Antonacci Ph.D.


Photoacid generator, proton-transfer, conjugate addition, carbocation catalysis


Proton transfer is essential in many natural and chemical processes, and photoacids that undergo proton dissociation or generation upon photoirradiation can be beneficial for use in acid-sensitive reactions. This work describes the use of photoacid generators (PAGs) as tools for organic synthesis, generating strong acids upon light absorption catalyzing Michael addition reactions. Specifically, visible-light-induced PAGs were used to facilitate the 1,4-conjugate addition between indoles and vinyl ketones. Furthermore, carbocations have gained attention as Lewis acid catalysts in a variety of reactions providing good selectivity and yields. We also demonstrate the viability of in-situ photoredox-generated carbocation catalysis in the context of conjugate addition reactions.