Developing and understanding organometallic late transition metal complexes for C-H and C-C activation

   School of Engineering & Physical Sciences

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  Dr Stephen Mansell, Prof D Townsend  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

This PhD opportunity will be based at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh.

Please contact Dr Stephen Mansell ([Email Address Removed]) for further details.

The Mansell research group are currently looking at two systems that are capable of reactions with some of the least reactive bonds known, specifically C-H (both intra and intermolecular) and C-C (currently intramolecular) bond activation and functionalisation.1 Following on from several publications,2,3 Ru and Rh systems will be investigated to explore the idea of electronic control over C-H activation using Ru phosphinine complexes2 and Rh-NHC catalysts for improving selectivity in catalytic C-H borylation using diboron(4) reagents.3 The PhD student on this project will develop their skills in organometallic chemistry, including high integrity Schlenk line and glovebox techniques, hands-on multinuclear NMR spectroscopy and X-ray diffraction. You will gain useful experience in making and coordinating N-heterocyclic carbene ligands, low valent phosphorus chemistry and the synthesis of precious metal starting materials. To increase our understanding of these reactive systems further, liquid state ultrafast time-resolved studies will also be conducted in collaboration with the group of Prof Dave Townsend (Heriot-Watt University) to give detailed information on the reaction mechanisms of these fascinating complexes. For a general overview of work in the Mansell group, please see:

Chemistry (6) Physics (29)


1. P. A. Morton and S. M. Mansell, Johns. Matthey Technol. Rev., 2023, 67, 333-348.
2. E. C. Trodden, M. P. Delve, C. Luz, R. J. Newland, J. M. Andresen and S. M. Mansell, Dalton Trans., 2021, 50, 13407–13411.
3. K. J. Evans, P. A. Morton, C. Luz, C. Miller, O. Raine, J. M. Lynam and S. M. Mansell, Chem. Eur. J., 2021, 27, 17824-17833.
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 About the Project