Research Guides

Department of Chemistry University of Oxford

Professor P. Mountford

Professor of Organometallic Chemistry & Catalysis. Fellow of St Edmund Hall

Email. For contact details, biography and CV click here

St Edmund Hall



Organometallic Chemistry and Catalysis

Philip Mountford is Professor of Organometallic Chemistry and Catalysis at the University of Oxford, and a Fellow and Tutor in Inorganic Chemistry at St Edmund Hall.*  He gained his D.Phil degree at Oxford and Balliol College under the supervision of Professor MLH Green (1990). He remained in Oxford as a Junior Research Fellow at Wolfson College, and in 1992 moved directly to his first independent faculty position at the University of Nottingham. In 1998 he returned to Oxford and St Edmund Hall where his research interests have broadly centred around the synthesis, structure, bonding and stoichiometric and catalytic reactivity of organometallic compounds of the early transition and lanthanide metals, and the alkaline earth metals. This research has had a particular emphasis on compounds with metal-nitrogen multiple bonds (and other unusual metal-element bonds), homogeneous olefin polymerisation, and ring-opening polymerisation. He is an author of 265 articles and patents (H index 50, ca. 8,700 citations, 32 citations per peer-reviewed article) and has presented his group's research at ca 150 international and national conferences and meetings, and university and industry seminars. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and has received several national and international awards and guest professorships. Most recently, he was awarded the 2015 Schlenk Lectureship sponsored by BASF and the University of Tübingen, Germany, and in 2014 was awarded a PKU-Eli Lilly prize lectureship by Beijing University. He received the RSC Organometallic Chemistry (Frankland) Award for 2012-2013 and is also a former recipient of the RSC's Sir Edward Frankland Fellowship (1998-1999) for organometallic chemistry. He has held Visiting Professorships at the Universite Louis Pasteur, Strasbourg, the University of Bordeaux, the University of Tübingen and the University of Heidelberg.  He has also contributed to the general academic community within both the University sector and the RSC. From 2008 to 2016 was successively Executive Deputy/Acting Head and then Head of Inorganic Chemistry at Oxford.  From 2012 to 2015 he was Chairman of the Editorial Board of Dalton Transactions and Chairman of the Editorial Board of Specialist Periodical Reports from 2016 to 2018. He also served on the Dalton Division Council of the RSC from 2012 to 2015.

* St Edmund Hall is a college of the University of Oxford. It retains its distinctive medieval title of 'Hall' in recognition of its ancient origins which date back to the thirteenth century, before most other colleges had been founded.

Here are some selected recent publications, including graphical summaries, arranged according to research theme. For a complete publication list and further details click here.

(1) Synthesis and reactions of compounds with metal-ligand multiple bonds and unusual metal-metal bonds

New scandium borylimido chemistry: synthesis, bonding and reactivity. B. A. Clough, S. Mellino, E. Clot and P. Mountford, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2017, 139, 11165-11183. [link to journal]

Reactions of titanium hydrazides with silanes and boranes: N–N bond cleavage and N atom functionalization. L. C. Stevenson, S. Mellino, E. Clot and P. Mountford, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2015, 137, 10140–10143. [link to journal]

A remarkable switch from a diamination to a hydrohydrazination catalyst and observation of an unprecedented catalyst resting state. A. D. Schwarz, C. S. Onn and P. Mountford, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2012, 51, 12298-12302. [link to journal].

The first Group 4 metal bis(imido) and tris(imido) complexes. A. D. Schwarz, A. J. Nielson, N. Kaltsoyannis and P. Mountford, Chemical Science, 2012, 3, 819-824. [link to journal]

Titanium alkoxyimido (Ti=N-OR) complexes: reductive N-O bond cleavage at the boundary between hydrazide and peroxide ligands.  A. D. Schwarz, A. Nova, E. Clot and P. Mountford, Chem. Commun., 2011, 47, 4926–4928. [link to journal].

Si-H and Si-Cl bond activation of titanium hydrazides with silanes and subsequent Ti-H / E-H (E = Si or H) sigma bond metathesis. P. J. Tiong, A. Nova, E. Clot and P. Mountford, Chem. Commun., 2011, 47, 3147-3149. [link to journal].

M=N cycloaddition and N-N insertion in the reactions of titanium hydrazido compounds with alkynes: a combined experimental and computational study. A. D. Schofield, A. Nova, J. D. Selby, C. D. Manley, A. D. Schwarz, E. Clot and P. Mountford, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2010, 132, 10484-10497. [link to journal].

(2) Synthesis and reactions of compounds with unusual metal-metal and metal-element bonds

Probing the limits of alkaline earth–transition metal bonding: an experimental and computational study. M. P. Blake, N. Kaltsoyannis and P. Mountford, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2015, 137, 12352−12368. [link to journal]

Synthesis, molecular and electronic structure, and reactions of a Zn–Hg–Zn bonded complex. M. P. Blake, N. Kaltsoyannis and P. Mountford, Chem. Commun., 2015, 51, 5743-5746. [link to journal]. Highlighted in the RSC magazine Chemistry World, 2015, 12, 4. [link]

Stable MX2 radicals (M = Ga, In, Tl). A. V. Protchenko, D. Dange, J. R. Harmer, C. Y. Tang, A. D. Schwarz, M. J. Kelly, N. Phillips, R. Tirfoin, K. H. Birjkumar, C. Jones, N. Kaltsoyannis, P. Mountford and S. Aldridge, Nature Chem., 2014, 6, 515-319. [link to journal]

Synthesis and reactions of beta-diketiminate-supported complexes with Mg Fe or Yb-Fe bonds. M. P. Blake, N. Kaltsoyannis and, P. Mountford,  Chem. Commun., 2013, 49, 3315-3317. [link to journal]

Group 3 and lanthanide boryl compounds: syntheses, structures and bonding analyses of Sc–B, Y–B and Lu–B sigma-coordinated NHC analogues. L. M. A. Saleh, K. H. Birjkumar, A. V. Protchenko, A. D. Schwarz, S. Aldridge, C. Jones, N. Kaltsoyannis, and P. Mountford, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2011, 133, 3836-3839. [link to journal]

Contrasting reactivity of anionic boron- and gallium-containing NHC analogues: E-C vs.M-E bond formation (E = B, Ga). A. V. Protchenko, L. M. A. Saleh, D. Vidovic, D. Dange, C. Jones, P. Mountford and S. Aldridge, Chem. Commun., 2010, 46, 8546-8548. Designated a "hot article" by the Editor. [link to journal].


(3) Synthesis and polymerisation studies of new catalysts for the preparation of polyolefin and poly(lactide) materials

Monometallic and bimetallic titanium κ1-amidinate complexes as olefin polymerization catalysts. R. A. Collins, A. F. Russell, R. T. W. Scott, R. Bernardo, G. H. J. van Doremaele, A. Berthoud and P. Mountford, Organometallics, 2017, 36, 2167-2181. [link to journal]

Bis(phenolate)amine-supported lanthanide borohydride complexes for styrene and trans-1,4-isoprene (co) polymerisations. F. Bonnet, H. E. Dyer, Y. El Kinani, C. Dietz, P. Roussel, M. Visseaux, P. Zinck and P. Mountford, Dalton Trans., 2015, 44, 12312-12325.  [link to journal]

Synthesis and structures of calcium and strontium 2,4-di-tert-butylphenolates and their reactivity towards the amine co-initiated ring-opening polymerisation of rac-lactide. L. Clark, G. B. Deacon, C. M. Forsyth, P. C. Junk, P. Mountford, J. P. Townley, and J. Wang, Dalton Trans., 2013, 42, 9294-9312. [link to journal]

Synthesis and rac-lactide ring-opening polymerisation studies of new alkaline earth tetrahydroborate complexes. R. A. Collins, J. Unruangsri and P. Mountford, Dalton Trans., 2013, 42, 759-769. Invited contribution for a Special Issue on metal borane and borohydride chemistry. [link to journal].

Cationic and charge-neutral calcium tetrahydroborate complexes and their use in the controlled ring-opening polymerisation of rac-lactide. M. G. Cushion and P. Mountford, Chem. Commun., 2011, 47, 2276-2278. [link to journal].

Ring-opening polymerization of rac-lactide by bis(phenolate)amine-supported samarium borohydride complexes: an experimental and DFT study. H. E. Dyer, S. Huijser, N. Susperregui, F. Bonnet, A. D. Schwarz, R. Duchateau, L. Maron and P. Mountford. Organometallics, 2010, 29, 3602-3621. [link to journal].

Dicationic and zwitterionic catalysts for the amine-initiated, immortal ring-opening polymerisation of rac-lactide: facile synthesis of amine-terminated, highly heterotactic PLA. L. Clark, M. G. Cushion, H. E. Dyer, A. D. Schwarz, R. Duchateau and P. Mountford, Chem. Commun. 2010, 46, 273-275. [link to journal].

Synthesis, solid state and DFT structure and olefin polymerization capability of a unique base-free dimeric methyl titanium dication. E. G. Ijpeij, B. Coussens, M. A. Zuideveld, G. H. J. van Doremaele, P. Mountford, M. Lutz and A. L. Spek, Chem. Commun., 2010, 46, 3339-3341. [link to journal].

AlMe3 and ZnMe2 adducts of a titanium imido methyl cation: a combined crystallographic, spectroscopic and DFT study. P.D. Bolton, E. Clot, A. R. Cowley and P. Mountford, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2006, 128, 15005-15018. [link to journal].