Low-valent Main Group/Transition Metal Hetero-bimetallic complexes for Small Molecule Activation
and Catalysis

Main funder

Funder's project number: 314794

Funds granted by main funder (€)

  • 256 245,00

Funding program

Project timetable

Project start date: 01/09/2018

Project end date: 31/08/2021


The activation of relatively inert non-polar chemical bonds is key to numerous catalytic functionalization processes generating high value-added chemical products. In the region of 85% of all chemicals currently require catalysts at some stage in their manufacture, and typical catalysts feature heavier late transition metals, reflecting their amenability to bond modifying redox processes. However, there are reactions that transition metals are not able to catalyze, for example a reaction of ammonia with ethylene. Furthermore, main group metallylenes have recently been shown to activate small molecules such as ammonia under ambient conditions. The step change in homogenous catalysis that this proposal seeks to bring about is to open up catalytic bond modification processes based on hetero-bimetallic complexes featuring both main group and d-block metals. Our approach is built on group 14 metallylene systems functioning as ligands for transition metal complexes, thereby providing two metal centres with complementary reactivity. In particular we aim to exploit the ability of main group metal centres to activate ‘difficult’ chemical bonds (such as the N-H bonds in ammonia) and the orthogonal ability of late transition metal centres to bind/activate unsaturated substrates, ultimately to produce unprecedented functionalization processes. Our targets are therefore to investigate the properties, reactivity and catalytic efficiency of these novel compounds in the field of small molecule activation and, for example, catalytic hydro-elementation. The goals for the lifetime of this project are not so much to produce immediate replacements for existing precious transition metal systems in societally important catalytic transformations, but rather to establish the fundamental ground rules for catalyst design in what is an entirely new area of endeavour.

Principal Investigator

Primary responsible unit

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Last updated on 2022-06-07 at 12:40