The selective conversion of small molecules, like CO2 or ethylene, to higher-value products remains a significant challenge for chemists. My research focuses on using early transition metal pincer complexes for this difficult task. In particular we are interested in how the same species can display differing reactivity depending on its physical deployment (solution, supported or as a crystalline solid).
Ultimately, we are targeting new catalytic pathways for the upgrading of small molecules. My research spans the entirety of catalyst development, from the design of new ligands and their respective metal complexes (and the subsequent characterization), all the way through to reactivity and optimization. Specific interests are listed below.
- Reactivity of small molecules with low-valent, early transition metal complexes
Greenhouse gases can be viewed as a potential feedstock as well as a problem. CO2 could be used as a C1 building block whereas NOx gases already involve activated nitrogen so can be viewed as a potential starting point for nitrogen chemistry whilst avoiding the (energetically costly) Haber-Bosch process. My interest is to investigate the fundamental chemistry of these complexes with low-valent organometallic complexes.
- Conversion of small olefins to value-added products
The efficient, selective conversion of gaseous olefins (from sources such as shale gas or steam cracking) to value-added products (commodity chemicals, fuels) remains a challenge. My research focuses on the development of novel group 4 catalysts, particularly ones that can work as a solid/gas dual phase catalyst to achieve this task.
I am usually keen to take on new students/collaborators at all levels, and if any of the above projects interest you please do email me to discuss this.