Homogeneous oxidation catalysis

One of the core research activities of the group is selective oxidative transformations of organic substrates with hydrogen peroxide using 1st row transition metal catalysts. The main focus is on a highly efficient and selective manganese catalyst system for the cis-dihydroxylation and epoxidation of alkenes using hydrogen peroxide which shows high turnover numbers and turn over frequencies. Iron and nickel based oxidation catalysts are also studied.

cis-Dihydroxylation and epoxidation of alkenes with hydrogen peroxide catalysed by Manganese complexes

Electro and Photo-Responsive Self assembled monolayer modified surface

The second of the core research trusts in the group is the development of electrochemically and photochemically switchable surfaces based on self assembled monolayers and on redox polymers.  In our group we focus on two key aspects of the development of responsive molecularly modified surfaces - i) developing robust approaches to both form and characterise self assembled monolayers and a wide range of metallic and non-metallic surfaces and ii) characterising the systems developed under operation conditions. In this area a wide range of surface techniques are applied to understand the behaviour of molecules on surfaces including electrochemistry, FTIR and UV.Vis-NIR spectroscopy and AFM/STM in collaboration with Dr Nathalie Katsonis.

Immobilising molecular switches through electropolymerisation

Multi-wavelength Raman Spectroscopy showing effect of resonance on Raman spectral intensities

Spectroscopy & Electrochemistry

Understanding the mechanisms of complex reactions, which follow redox reactions is a major area of interest in the group both for homogenous oxidation catalysis and responsive molecular systems. Understanding these dynamic systems require a broad base of analytical and spectroscopic techniques to be applied.  In several studies ranging from understanding the behaviour of oxidation catalysts, electro- and photo-chromic molecular switches to electropolymerisation to form functional modified surfaces. Spectroelectrochemical techniques are of especial interest as it allows for structural information of the products of reactions, including redox reactions, to be identified unambiguously.

Control of reactions with microfluidics

Together with the Pharmaceutical Analysis group of Prof Sabeth Verpoorte we are working on developing microfludic based electrochemical reactors coupled with spatially resolved spectroscopy, in particular Raman spectroscopy.