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“Accordion-like” complexes: Developing catalysts and material building blocks

   Faculty of Science, Engineering and Computing

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  Dr Dominikus Heift  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

The overall focus of this project is the synthesis of new main group compounds and transition metal complexes to develop new catalytic systems & materials.

 The design of sophisticated ligand skeletons is essential for the development of new effective and selective homogeneous catalytic systems. In particular, the choice and type of ligand backbone and the coordinating heteroatoms define the reactivity of the resulting molecular system, through both steric and electronic effects. We have recently been exploring phosphine ligands bearing three thioether arms like tris-thioether phosphines P(C6H4-o-CH2SCH3)3.[1-3] Notably, such systems with thioether functions in the γ position (counting from the phosphorus centre) are very rare and their coordination behaviour is practically unexplored.

 The aim of this project is to screen the reactivity of such ligand systems and exploit their full potential by synthesizing new complexes and materials with transition metals and heavy p-block cations.

 Besides synthetic skills in air-sensitive chemistry the candidate will acquire a deep knowledge in NMR spectroscopy to characterize compounds and elucidate reaction mechanisms.


[1] R. Mokrai, J. Barrett, D. C. Apperley, A. S. Batsanov, Z. Benkő, D. Heift, Chem. Eur. J. 2019, 25, 4017-4024;
[2] C. Fekete, J. Barrett, Z. Benkő, D. Heift, Inorg. Chem. 2020, 59, 13270-13280;
[3] R. Mokrai, J. Barrett, D. C. Apperley, Z. Benkő, D. Heift, Inorg. Chem. 2020, 59, 8916-8924.
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