School of Chemical and Physical Sciences

Research Projects

Pincer ligand

Pincer ligand

Pincer ligands

Pincer ligands, potentially useful in organometallic catalysis, are tridentate and bind to metals in a planar arrangement. The three different donor groups allow a high level of control of steric and electronic factors. Altering the backbone of the ligand allows the solubility and the electronic properties of the complex to be modified.

Pincer complexes have been used in a range of applications including gas sensors, carbon cross-coupling reactions and C-H bond activation.


Ligands with cyclopropane rings

Cyclopropane rings are important functional groups in many biologically active molecules. Alkenes that contain cyclopropylidene groups such as methylenecyclopropylidene (MCP) and bicyclopropylidene (BCP) are useful starting materials to incorporate one or two cyclopropane rings into a molecule

We are synthesising metal complexes of MCP and BCP to better understand the reaction mechanisms and intermediates.


Designing metal-containing liquid crystals

This project involves making new liquid crystals (LEDs), which are important materials for display technologies.  The use of traditional organic-based liquid crystals limits the range of possible molecular architectures available to liquid crystals, but incorporating a coordinated metal centre into a liquid crystal structure – a metallomesogen – can lead to new and interesting geometries. 

Also, careful control of the coordination sphere of the metal centre can enhance or impart new properties to a liquid crystal, including magnetism, luminescence or redox response.


Other current projects include:

  • the chemistry of bulky hemilabile ligands
  • water soluble organomatallic catalysts.