School of Chemistry

Staff Profile

Dr Keith Izod

Reader in Main Group Chemistry


Research Interests

Research in the Izod group focuses on main group and lanthanide organometallic and coordination chemistry. We place particular emphasis on the synthesis and reactions of metal complexes having novel coordination environments by virtue of their unusual metal-ligand contacts, coordinative unsaturation or metal oxidation state.  Current projects include:

New Methods for the Stabilisation of Heavier Main Group Carbene Analogues - Applications in Small Molecule Activation

Since the discovery of the first stable N-heterocyclic carbene (NHC) in 1991, these compounds have become ubiquitous in coordination chemistry and catalysis.  The chemistry of the heavier group 14 analogues of these species (tetrylenes) is less well developed, especially for systems where the group 14 centre is substituted by atoms other than nitrogen.  Our interest in this area is twofold: (i) the development of new ways to stabilise unusually-substituted tetrylenes and (ii) the application of these species in the activation of small molecules such as H2, CO, CO2.  In the course of these studies we have established a new method for the stabilisation of dialkyltetrylenes (R2E, E = Sn, Pb) through the use of weak, hemilabile, agostic-type B-H...E interactions.  We have also synthesised the first examples of diphosphatetrylenes (R2P)2E stabilised by P-E pi-interactions; the degree of pi-interaction, and hence the reactivities of the diphosphatetrylenes can be tuned through careful manipulation of the substituents at phosphorus.  We are currently developing this chemistry further, with a view to the application of dialkyl- and diphosphatetrylenes in small molecule activation.

New Directions in Organolanthanide Chemistry

The chemistry of the lanthanide elements has seen a remarkable resurgence of interest in the last two decades, due, at least in part, to the unique reactions mediated by the lanthanide ions.  We have an especial interest in the chemistry of low oxidation state lanthanide compounds and have isolated some of the first examples of sigma-bonded organolanthanide(II) compounds. Our current interest is in the novel reactions exhibited by dialkyllanthanide complexes and in new scaffolds to support organolanthanide(II) chemistry, including hybrid ligand systems with potential applications in small molecule activation and catalysis.

Development of Phosphine-Borane-Stabilised Carbanions

The chemistry of silicon-stabilised carbanions is well established and these ligands have been responsible for some of the major advances in inorganic chemistry over the last four decades.  In contrast, the isoelectronic phosphine-borane-stabilised carbanions (PBCs) have been little studied, in spite of their straightforward syntheses and the ease with which their steric and electronic properties may be tuned.  The Izod group has been at the forefront of the development of PBCs as ligands for main group and lanthanide elements.  We have shown that these ligands are incredibly versatile, adopting numerous bonding modes with metal centres, while the hemilability of the frequently observed B-H...M contacts engenders unusual structures and reactions in their compounds.