Professor Michael Ingleson

Personal Chair of Inorganic Chemistry

Research summary

s + p block chemistry, borylation, all things boron, catalysis, organometallics, organic materials, synthesis.

Research Overview

The Ingleson Group’s research is focused on developing new materials, reactions and catalytic processes that utilise compounds containing only earth abundant elements. This involves the discovery of new materials and reactions and the development of earth abundant analogues of transformations already established for the precious metals (the expensive elements, such as Ir, Pd etc., that have very low permitted daily exposure limits). The latter is a crucial endeavour required for society to move to more sustainable chemical processes whilst also enabling the discovery of fundamentally new chemistry thus providing access to new areas of chemical space. Research in the Ingleson Group principally achieves this by studying the fundamental and applied properties of electrophilic boranes and other main group compounds particularly those based on Si, P, Zn etc.

Research from the Ingleson group often uses boron electrophiles to discover novel routes to new organo-borane derivatives that are highly useful synthetic intermediates (e.g. Refs 1, 2 in selected recent publications), or are novel boron containing organic materials for use as catalysts (e.g. Ref 3) or emissive materials (e.g. ref 4). Beyond boron the Ingleson group synthesises, studies and utilises many other novel main group Lewis acids, e.g., carbon, zinc and phosphorus based, as novel catalysts for sigma bond activation, particularly in frustrated Lewis pair chemistry (e.g. Ref 5) and for catalytic C-Y bond formation (Y = C or B, e.g. Ref 6).

Full list of publications. For a flavour of the types of projects pursued in the Ingleson Group see:

Topic 1: C-B bond formation using boron electrophiles for forming useful synthetic intermediates

1) Reductive α-borylation of α,β-unsaturated esters using NHC-BH3 activated by I2 as a metal-free route to α-boryl esters. Chem. Sci., 2019, 10, 1434.

2) Selective boryl-anion migration in a vinyl sp2-sp3 diborane induced by soft borane Lewis acids. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2018, 57, 13293.

Topic 2: Synthesis and utilisation of Boron containing Organic Materials

3) Well-defined boron/nitrogen doped PAHs are active electrocatalysts for the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR). Chem. Mat. 2019, 31, 1891

4) Post-Polymerization C-H Borylation of Donor-Acceptor Materials Gives Highly Efficient Solid State Near-Infrared Emitters for NIR-OLEDs and Effective Biological Imaging. Appl. Mater. Int. 2017, 9, 28243.

Topic 3: Main group electrophiles for catalytic applications

5) Air– and water–stable Lewis acid: synthesis and reactivity of P-trifluoromethyl electrophilic phosphonium cations. Chem. Comm., 2018, 54, 662.

6) Low coordinate NHC-Zinc-Hydride Complexes Catalyze Alkyne C-H Borylation and Hydroboration using Pinacolborane