May 2021

Combining mixing metals with making cations. Our latest contribution by Alexander and Jonathan in Angewandte Chemie.

HETEROBIMETALLIC CATIONS: Mg, Zn, Al, Ga cocktails. Choice of metals strongly influences M-M bond character, stability and reactivity. Their cationic nature is key to facile RT C-F bond cleavage via a new mechanism. (even in p-Me-C6H4-F!)

May 2021

Katharina reports on Lewis base-free cationic complexes of the largest alkaline earth metals Sr and Ba! A BIG challenge to stabilize these BIG metal cations!

 “NAKED” STRONTIUM AND BARIUM CATIONS: After Lewis base-free cationic Mg and Ca complexes, we now finally also have the big ones “naked”. (NacNac)Ba+ interacts with a large pi-system. (R2N)Ba+ is sandwiched between toluenes.

April 2021

The group made it into NATURE!!! The fantastic cooperative atmosphere within our group enabled isolation of first Mg(0) complexes. Congratulations to all!

ANIONIC MAGNESIUM: Turning R-Mg-I into R-Mg-Na which reacts as a Mg nucleophile RMg(-) Na(+). Heating gave spontaneous Na(+) --> Na(0) reduction (!) and RMgMgMgR, a long sought-after intermediate in Grignard formation.

March 2021

The group made it into SCIENCE!!! It was a hard job to develop this OCTOPUSSY ligand but in the end, hard work always pays off! Congratulations to the chemists who made this giant breakthrough possible!

CRACKING N≡N WITH Ca: Octopussy strikes again! Attempts to isolate a Ca(I) complex gave reduction of aromatic solvents. Thx to many arms complexes are soluble in alkanes. Now N2 is reduced. d-Orbitals on Ca? Is LCaCaL possible?

January 2021

Interesting to see how the two twin metals Mg and Zn can be the same but also so different. Great work from Alexander!

Mg AND Zn: THE SAME BUT DIFFERENT! A first “naked” cationic (BDT)Zn+ complex eagerly forms bonds to arenes and halobenzenes. Despite similar Mg2+ and Zn2+ size, ligand bonding can be quite different due to hard/soft differences.

December 2020

Ever heard of the sigma-hole? Here we show a map. Congratulations Alex and Jonathan on this combined experimental/theoretical project.

Interesting to see MAPPING THE SIGMA-HOLE: Complexation of PhF, PhCl, PhBr, PhI with highly Lewis-acidic Mg cations. Mg…X-Ph angles decrease from F > Cl > Br > I due to the halogen sigma-hole. In all cases there is considerable C-X bond activation.

November 2020

Can main group metals also bind alkenes? Katharina and Alexander say: YES!

UNSUPPORTED MAGNESIUM-ALKENE COORDINATION: Intramolecular s-block metal-alkene complexes are known. We present first INTERMOLECULAR examples. Mg-alkene bonding leads to C=C polarization. Although weak, it is crucial in catalysis.

November 2020

Why using a complicated ligand when just metal is enough? Johannes demonstrates that Ba metal alone is a fantastic hydrogenation catalyst.

NO LIGANDS – JUST METAL: 200 years after Döbereiner’s Pt and 100 years after Sabatier’s Ni, metallic Ba is found to be an all-round hydrogenation catalyst. We propose a DUAL SITE mechanism in which Ba(0) and BaH2 are crucial.

June 2020


The Boss wins prestigious Award! Or actually the Harder group won. Thanks to all students: past, present, future.