Gerneral research interests

  • Synthetic and structural organometallic chemistry
  • Orgaic synthesis
  • Ligand design and ligand synthesis for catalysis
  • Reaction mechanisms in organometallic chemistry and catalysis
  • "Applied" quantum chemistry of organic and organometallic compounds

The current and future importance of catalysis in chemistry cannot be overstated, and catalysis research is emphasized in many chemistry research institutions.

Catalytic reactions, especially for organic synthesis, are playing an increasingly dominant role, in both research and industry. In many cases, homogeneous or heterogeneous catalytic processes involve transition metals. The science of homogeneous catalysis at such metal centres is based upon our progress and understanding of organometallic chemistry.

Increasing demands on selectivity, upon a sustainable treatment of resources and on atom-economy during organic synthesis are driving current efforts in today's organometallic and catalysis research, as large scale organic products, industrial intermediates, new high-tech materials and fine chemicals are prepared by such methods. New compounds assembled at metal templates by catalytic and stoichiometric reactions are important targets of organometallic chemistry. Due to their intrinsic, widely variable atomic characteristics and due to the possibilities of a rational and specific design of electronically suitable and sterically tailor-made coordinating ligands, transition metals offer a nearly unlimited diversity of synthetically usable interactions and reactions with organic substrate molecules.

The discovery of new homogeneous catalytic reactions or stoichiometric transformations of organic substrates by means of transition metals and the possibilities of developing modifications which could be used in industry will be determined by the strategies and by the extent of basic research in organometallic chemistry of transition elements. The experimental and/or theoretical discovery of structure-reactivity-relations and the mechanistic understanding of elementary processes occurring at the molecular level are prerequisites for catalysis research which can be rationally planned and which will finally overcome the stage of "Trial-and-Error-Procedures". Elucidating organometallic reaction mechanisms, identifying catalytically relevant, reactive, short-lived intermediates and their analysis with experimental and theoretical methods (model calculations, spectroscopy, kinetics etc.) are of special interest.


Current areas of experimental and theoretical research:

  • Activation and functionalization of C-H-, C-C- and C-X-bonds at transition metal centers, N-H-activation of ammonia and amines
  • Catalytic hydrosilylation, carbonylation, hydrocyanation, hydroamination
  • Design and synthesis of tailor-made ligands
  • Experimental and theoretical studies of olefin metathesis
  • Polymerization catalysts
  • Synthesis and chemistry of copper carbenes and copper nitrenes
  • Quantum chemical model calculations for homogeneous catalysis and organometallic chemistry


On July 1st 2002 a new long-term collaborative research project at the University of Heidelberg (Sonderforschungsbereich" SFB 623: Molecular Catalysts: Structure and Functional Design) has started its research activities.
This Collaborative Project integrates 18 research groups from the Institutes of Inorganic, Organic and Physical Chemistry, from the Department of Pharmacy, the Department of Technical Chemistry and the Centre of Interdisciplinary Scientific Computing. The central objective is to coordinate the experimental and theoretical expertise of all involved to achieve a profound basic understanding of catalytic processes at the molecular and atomic level. The availability of modern high-tech equipment will give access to high-throughput screening and parallel synthesis methodology for molecular catalysis research.
May 24 and 25, 2013 the closing event "Trends in Molecular Catalysis" of the SFB 623 takes place.

Gade, Lutz H. / Hofmann, Peter (Hrsg.)
Molecular Catalysts
Structure and Functional Design
1. Auflage Juli 2014
ISBN 978-3-527-33521-3 - Wiley-VCH, Weinheim




Editor: e-mail
Latest Revision: 2015-10-07
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