Research Guides

Department of Chemistry University of Oxford

Professor Andrew S. Weller

Research in the Weller group is based upon synthetic organometallic chemistry, and in particular the generation and stabilisation of transition metal complexes with a low coordination number. Through this we are interested in topics related to catalysis, structure and bonding and energy, and in particular complexes that display C-H, B-H and C-C bonding modes (via agostic and sigma interactions) and activation. We also have interest in the self-assembly of metal fragments to form novel clusters that show promise as models for hydrogen on metal surfaces, hydrogen storage devices and models for nanoparticles. Please follow the link to our Research Group Webpages for more information on the group, its research and our publications.

Current Research Themes:

(1) The synthesis and definitive characterisation of late transition metal C-C and B-H and C-H sigma and agostic complexes. These complexes also undergo C-C, B-H and C-H activation in solution, making them genuine intermediates in these transformations of growing synthetic utility. Highlights include the isolation of complexes with C-C agostic interactions,  alkyl dehydrogenation and C-H activation,  and the unraveling of the mechanism of dehydrocoupling of amine boranes: precursors to chemical hydrogen stores for fuel cell applications and novel B-N polymeric materials.

(2) The role of hemilabile ligands in stabilising latent vacant coordination sites on transition metal systems. A recent important result from this work is the development (with Willis, Oxford) of hydroacylation catalysts for challenging substrates (C-H activation) in which each steps on the catalytic cycle has been characterized.

(3) The synthesis of a new class of unsaturated metal clusters, by a kinetically-controlled self-assembly process, which have an extraordinarily high hydride content; are models for hydrogen attachment on a metal surface; uptake and release H2; undergo a variety of electrochemical processes due their unsaturated electronic structure and act as redox-switchable hydrogen storage materials.


[1] H. C. Johnson and Andrew S. Weller P⎼C Activated Bimetallic Rhodium Xantphos Complexes: Formation and Catalytic Dehydrocoupling of Amine–Boranes Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2015, 54, 10173.

[2] A. Prades, M. Fernández, S. D. Pike, M.C. Willis and A. S. Weller Well-Defined and Robust Rhodium Catalysts for the Hydroacylation of Terminal and Internal Alkenes Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2015, 54, 8520
[3] G. M. Adams, F. M. Chadwick, S. D. Pike and Andrew S. Weller* A CH2Cl2 Complex of a [Rh(pincer)]+ Cation, Dalton Trans., 2015, 44, 6340.
[4] S. D. Pike, F. M. Chadwick, N. H. Rees, M. P. Scott, A. S. Weller, T. Krämer, and S. A. Macgregor Solid–State Synthesis and Characterization of Sigma−Alkane Complexes, [Rh(L2)(η2,η2–C7H12)][BArF4] (L2 = Bidentate Chelating Phosphine). J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2015, 137, 820
[5] S. D. Pike and A. S. Weller Organometallic Synthesis, Reactivity and Catalysis in the Solid–State Using Well–Defined Single Site Species, Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A, 2015 373 20140187
[6] H. C. Johnson, E. M. Leitao, G. R. Whittell, I. Manners, G. C. Lloyd-Jones, and A.S. Weller Mechanistic Studies of the Dehydrocoupling and Dehydropolymerization of Amine-Boranes using a [Rh(Xantphos)]+ Catalyst J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2014, 136, 9078.

[7] A. Kumar, H. C. Johnson, T. N. Hooper, A. S. Weller, A.G. Algarra and S. A. Macgregor Multiple metal-bound oligomers from Ir-catalysed dehydropolymerisation of H3BNH3 as probed by experiment and computation Chem. Sci. 2014, 5, 2546

[8] Synthesis and Characterization of a Rhodium(I) σ-Alkane Complex in the Solid–State. S. D. Pike, A. L. Thompson, A. G. Algarra, D. C. Apperley, S. A. Macgregor and A S. Weller. Science, 2012, 337, 1648.

[9]  M. A. Huertos and A. S. Weller Revealing the P–B coupling event in the rhodium catalysed dehydrocoupling of phosphine boranes H3B·PR2H (R = tBu, Ph). Chem. Sci. 2013, 4, 1881

[10] A. B. Chaplin, J. F. Hooper, A. S. Weller, and M. C. Willis Intermolecular hydroacylation: High Activity Rhodium Catalysts Containing Small Bite Angle Diphosphine Ligands. J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2012, 134, 4885. 

[11]   L. J. Sewell, G. C. Lloyd-Jones, and A. S. Weller Development of a Generic Mechanism for the Dehydrocoupling of Amine-Boranes: A Stoichiometric, Catalytic, and Kinetic Study of H3B·NMe2H Using the [Rh(PCy3)2]+ Fragment, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2012, 134, 3598