Major research interests in my group include (1) immobilized catalysts, (2) the surface chemistry of oxide materials and (3) solid-state NMR spectroscopy.
Immobilized catalysts (1) allow the advantages of heterogeneous catalysts to be combined with those of homogeneous catalysts. In particular, surface-immobilized homogeneous catalysts are easy to recycle, and can be highly active and selective. Furthermore they are amenable to systematic design. We find the most interesting results when heterobimetallic systems, such as the Sonogashira Pd/Cu catalyst for the coupling of aryl halides and terminal alkynes, are involved. Effective immobilization requires a thorough understanding of the surface chemistry of the oxide support materials (2). Therefore, we investigate not only the reactivity of metal complexes and linkers, but also their mobility on the surfaces.
The most powerful analytical tool for investigating amorphous materials is solid-state NMR spectroscopy (3). We optimized this method especially for surface-bound species, enabling us to study reactions on surfaces, or analyze the nature of our anchored linkers and catalysts.
These different research areas provide my students with a strong multidisciplinary background, spanning from synthetic chemistry, through materials sciences and catalysis, to surface analytical methods including solid-state NMR spectroscopy. Our expertise in these fields has led to many industrial contacts and collaborations.