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f-block hydrocarbon interactions: exploration; exploitation

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






Project "f-ex" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
postcode: EH8 9YL

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country United Kingdom [UK]
 Total cost 2˙456˙120 €
 EC max contribution 2˙456˙120 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.1. (EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC))
 Code Call ERC-2016-ADG
 Funding Scheme ERC-ADG
 Starting year 2017
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2017-10-01   to  2022-09-30


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 
1    THE UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH UK (EDINBURGH) coordinator 2˙456˙120.00


 Project objective

Understanding, controlling, and predicting the subtle interactions that hydrocarbons form with metals is a major challenge in molecular science, and a key technology enabler in areas such as homogeneous catalysis, drug recognition, polymer properties, and metal recovery. For the f-block, it is important due to the urgent need for clean access to critical elements such as neodymium, and the safe handling of nuclear waste. However, technical challenges of paramagnetism, radiotoxicity, and relativistic effects, make quantifying and exploiting f-block hydrocarbon interactions very hard using traditional methods or calculations alone.

We have used organometallic systems to study two types of poorly understood hydrocarbon interactions with f-block metal cations: arene binding which is stronger, yet controversial in terms of its electronic demands, and neutral hydrocarbon C-H bonding which is weaker, yet crucially reaction controlling.

f-ex sets out a new way to experimentally measure and define these subtle hydrocarbon interactions. It then exploits the stored electrons in the metal-arene motif as a new method to control these powerful Lewis acidic metals for new hydrocarbon C-element bond formation and inert hydrocarbon C-H bond cleavage, with the ultimate aim of viable, low-energy hydrocarbon functionalisations.

Uniquely, we will extend our organometallic work to the more difficult transuranic elements, and exploit high pressure solution (and single crystal) work to enhance and interrogate intermolecular C-H binding. The targets of this combined study now offer high scientific impact by demonstrating fundamental bonding insight and ground-breaking structures and reactions.

Unprecedented new insight also derives from incorporating new techniques, e.g. high-pressure solution and single crystal work, and transuranic organometallic chemistry.


year authors and title journal last update
List of publications.
2018 Bradley E. Cowie, Gary S. Nichol, Jason B. Love, Polly L. Arnold
Double uranium oxo cations derived from uranyl by borane or silane reduction
published pages: 3839-3842, ISSN: 1359-7345, DOI: 10.1039/c8cc00341f
Chemical Communications 54/31 2020-01-27

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The information about "F-EX" are provided by the European Opendata Portal: CORDIS opendata.

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