Research Interests

My group’s chemistry is focused on developing and understanding catalytic chemical transformations. The ability to streamline the efficiency of current and future industrial catalytic processes is a key element in societies’ reduction of energy usage for a greener future. This research field encompasses more traditional redox active metal based catalysis to recently developed Frustrated Lewis Pair (FLP) catalysis. In particular I am interested in accessing alternate reaction pathways and reaction products through the use of Z-type ligands (electron pair acceptors) and carbocation Lewis acids. 

Frustrated Lewis Pair (FLP) small molecule activation and catalysis

Imine hydrogenation catalysed by a Frustrated Lewis Pair (see: Org. Biomol. Chem., 2008, 6, 1535).

The emergence of Frustrated Lewis Pairs (FLPs) has led to the activation of small molecules using group 13 and 15 centres. This chemistry has been developed into useful chemical  transformations, where the group 15 molecule has been transformed. We are currently exploring catalytic reactivity of customised FLP.


References:

Polyhedron, 2016, 120, 36–43. 

PCcarbeneP pincer complex chemistry

PCP pincer complexes featuring alkylidene central donors have shown huge potential in synergistic metal-ligand bond-activation chemistry. Unfortunately, these ligands are often difficult to access, especially for base metal examples. Our group has found new ways to access such complexes and is currently exploring their potential in challenging bond-activation processes and metal-ligand cooperative catalysis.


 

References:

1. Organometallics, 201736 (16), 3117–3124.

2. Dalton Trans., 2017, 46 (44), 15407–15414.

3. Chem. Sci. 2018,  Advance Article.

Acidic metal hydride chemistry

Traditionally, metal hydrides are thought of as being basic in nature. Through the use of phosphine-based pincer-type ligands, we are developing ever more acidic metal hydrides that can undergo alternate reactivity with a number of substrates as compared to their more traditionally basic counterparts.


References:

Organometallics, 2017, 36 (8), 1609–1617.

Main-group catalysis

The incorporation of C-F bonds into organic molecules is driven by the many desirable characteristics that fluorocarbons possess. Given their ever-increasing abundance in chemical industries, one area of focus in the research group is in the catalytic transformation of inert C-F bonds to other synthetically useful groups, via the use of main group Lewis acidic catalysts.

 

References:

1. RSC Adv. 2016, 6, 42708–42712.

2. Org. Lett., 2017, 19 (7), 1934–1937.

3. J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2018, 140 (34), 10682–10686