Our main research focus is on organometallic and coordination chemistry of s- and f-block metals. Together with improving our fundamental understanding of these elements, we are interested in their application in small molecule activation, C-H activation, sustainable synthesis and catalysis.
All our compounds are synthesised using advanced Schlenk line and glovebox techniques. We then perform comprehensive characterisations of our compounds using a variety of spectroscopic and analytical techniques e.g. single crystal X-ray crystallography, multinuclear NMR, UV-vis-NIR spectroscopy, EPR, cyclic voltammetry.
Low oxidation state Alkaline earth chemistry
The first example of low-valent Mg complex was reported by Jones in 2007 (learn more about it here). Since then, Mg(I) reagents have been used extensively as bespoke reducing agent for the activation of a variety of synthons (e.g. small molecules, unsaturated substrates) and for the formation of novel metal-metal bonds. However, this chemistry has not been extended to the heavier members of the family, with the exception of the serendipitous isolation of a Ca(I) inverse sandwich complex (read here) and the activation of dinitrogen by a transient Ca(I) complex (read here).
In the Ortu Group we are focussing on new methodologies to isolate elusive Group 2 (Mg-Ba) complexes in the +1 oxidation state, in which the low-valent state of the metal isn’t supported by the presence of metal-metal bonds. These species will expand the landscape of s-block chemistry and introduce redox reactivity as a new synthetic tool particularly for the heavy Group 2 elements (Ca-Ba).
Alkaline earth and Lanthanide organometallic chemistry
Prof. Stuart A. Macgregor (Heriot-Watt University, UK)
Dr Lia Sotorrios (Heriot-Watt University, UK)
Dr Claire McMullin (University of Bath, UK)
Dr Daniel Reta (University of the Basque Country – UPV/EHU, Spain)
Prof. Henry La Pierre (Georgia Tech, USA)