Orbital engineering at main group centres
The use of multidentate ligands is ubiquitous in transition metal chemistry, but less developed for main group centres. Such ligands can engender novel electronic structure at main group centres by enforcing nonclassical geometries. We are interested in developing this concept with the aim of eliciting new reactivity modes because understanding the design rules governing changes in frontier orbital energies as a function of geometry and ligand environment will reveal new stoichiometric and catalytic applications.
Lewis acids and weakly-coordinating anions
Lewis acids play a key role as catalysts in industrial and academic chemistry. They are precursors to weakly coordinating anions that permit the study of electrophilic cations. We are interested in the synthesis of new Lewis acids for fundamental studies involving binding of non-classical donors, and for applications in catalysis and anion sensing. Some of these will be converted to weakly-coordinating anions, which are Li-ion battery electrolyte components.
Inorganic polymers and intermetallic clusters
Polymers and clusters derived from elements other than carbon are fascinating because their unique electronic structure leads to properties that are in accessible for organic compounds. We are interested in preparing polymers which would feature a redox active heavy element in the main chain. The fundamental chemistry of such materials is entirely unknown. We are also interested in main group homopolyatomic cations - the positively-charged versions of Zintl anions. More specifically, we will investigate well-defined intermetallic molecular clusters as models for bulk semiconducting phases.
Chem. Commun., 2020, In Press. (Invited submission to the 2020 Emerging Investigators Issue)