Preparation of reactive metal complexes and their application as (chiral) catalysts

Discovering catalysts for the construction of new molecules

The project develops new chiral and non-chiral auxiliary ligand systems for metal-based catalysts that are used in challenging bond-forming transformations.

Expanding the ligand families capable of acting as successful entities in metal-mediated reactivity and catalysis is crucial for future discoveries in this field. Our most recent research goals have seen the identification and application of chiral chelating sulfoxides as sulfur-based ligands in late-transition metal chemistry. This outcome has also led to uncovering a new class of highly active and selective (chiral) monodentate N-heterocyclic carbene ligands. Catalytic applications of these new metal-based catalysts in various C-C and C-heteroatom bond-forming reactions will expand the methodological tools available to chemists and will lead to the discovery of novel reaction pathways.

The successful PhD applicant will acquire skills that include the synthesis and new ligands and metal complexes, will learn how to manipulate air-sensitive compounds, and will obtain expertise in a broad range of organic/organometallic chemistry and methodology.

Potential collaborators are also welcome to contact the research team leader to discuss ideas.

For more background information, see the suggested readings below.

Suggested readings


Identify new (chiral) ancillary ligands

Prepare relevant metal complexes

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Study their stoichiometric and catalytic activity

Research team leader: Professor Reto Dorta

I studied chemistry at the University of Neuchatel and the University of Salerno. In 1997, I joined Professor Georg Süss-Fink's group at the University of Neuchatel for Diploma work and subsequently moved to the Weizmann Institute of Science (Israel), where I earned a doctoral degree in 2002. In December 2011, I took up my current position at the School of Molecular Sciences. My research is directed toward the preparation of reactive transition metal complexes for stoichiometric and catalytic applications.

How to apply

Interested in becoming part of this project? Complete the following steps to submit your expression of interest:

Step 1 - Check criteria

General UWA PhD entrance requirements can be found on the Future Students website.

Step 2 - Submit enquiry to research team leader

Step 3 - Lodge application

After you have discussed your project with the research team leader, you should be in a position to proceed to the next step of the UWA application process: Lodge an application. Different application procedures apply to domestic and international students.

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