Our work is in the general field of organotransition metal chemistry and the goal is to find and develop organometallic reactions with possible applications in catalysis. We use specialised synthetic techniques, including high-vacuum, Schlenk and glove box work. Structural characterisation is performed using mainly multi-nuclear NMR spectroscopy and X-ray crystallography. In our work we always try to understand reaction mechanisms in as much detail as possible using, inter alia, kinetics measurements and spectroscopic identification of inter-mediates. In looking for new catalysis we also develop the basic organometallic chemistry of e.g. pincer ligands and complexes.
Activation of small molecules is a major theme in the group. We are trying to find transition metal complexes for the activation of carbon dioxide to make new C–O and C–C bonds. Thus, we are assessing the reactivity of M–C and M–O bonds of various transition metal complexes towards CO2 and other electrophiles. Eventually the goal is to incorporate these reactions into catalysis making carboxylic acids and organic carbonates.
We also develop new catalysts for C–H activation with ligands that render the metal centre more reactive and that allow for binding of the catalyst on a solid support. Thus we will apply current and newly developed catalysts in the synthesis of complex molecules from simple hydrocarbons – “straight from the cracker”.