Our research is focussed on creating novel catalyst systems to unlock energy stored within molecules for the controlled formation of value-added products.
We have world-class expertise across a wide-range of scientific areas.
We are always looking to strengthen our research through collaboration. If you would like to enquire about combining skillsets synergistically to maximise the impact of research, please contact:
- INNOVATE: We explore fundamental scientific questions at the cutting edge of chemical research, made possible by our experience in working in this area, to enhance and extend humanity's knowledge and understanding of the natural world
- DISCOVER: We build upon our vast expertise in chemical synthesis to discover new and highly efficient reactions to forge chemical bonds, turning readily available building blocks into value-added products
- CREATE: We use our research and a deep understanding of chemical science to create new catalysts to enable researchers around the world to improve their chemical syntheses; and create new molecules with unexplored architectures in unprecedented efficiency
- APPLY: We are driven by current urgent challenges facing the global scientific community and apply our findings to provide solutions across a wide-range of fields from biology to materials science
We are always looking to strengthen our research through collaboration. If you would like to enquire about combining skillsets synergistically to maximise the impact of our research, please contact:
Releasing energy stored within molecules can have powerful effects: steam bursts from the hard popcorn kernel creating a tasty snack; deploying an airbag can save your life in a collision; and explosives can shift thousands of tonnes of material in an instant. Explosive compounds, including NaN3 (the gas generator in some airbags), TNT (trinitrotoluene) and RDX (the chief ingredient in C-4 explosive) have a high percentage of nitrogen atoms in their chemical makeup. This important because nitrogen gas (N2) is a very stable molecule, making up almost 80% of our atmosphere and therefore releasing stable nitrogen gas creates a huge amount of energy.
1,2,3-Triazoles are cyclic molecules containing five atoms, of which three are adjacent nitrogen atoms. In general, triazoles are stable and successfully used as a way of efficiently joining two molecular fragments together. However, in 1-STs, we use a sulfonyl group to carefully tune the reactivity profile. We are developing new reactions and designing new catalysts so that a tiny amount of catalyst can promote controlled loss of two of the nitrogen atoms from the 1-sulfonyl triazole as nitrogen gas and capture the associated energy directing it towards formation of complex products with exquisite control and efficiency.
We have applied this strategy to design new an efficient synthesis of tetrahydrofurans—important molecules found at the heart of many bioactive compounds [see publication 12, publication 13]. We then applied this research to complete the first ever synthesis of petromyroxol, a natural molecule produced by the sea-lamprey [see publication 15]. In this project we produced a significant amount of the compounds which unlock the possibility for further study of this fascinating creature and its marine biology.
compounds made from 1-STs using this novel strategy
We are continuing to extend this strategy to create bioactive compounds, novel powerful catalysts and next-generation organic materials.