Research

The Kostakis group aims to develop new methodologies for the synthesis of inexpensive inorganic materials and perform mechanistic studies to understand their properties and reactivity. Our research focuses on the following three topics

a) 3d/4f coordination clusters in Catalysis.  

We reported a library of 3d/4f coordination clusters (CCs) possessing a rigid topology and demonstrated their stability in solution (by ESI-MS, EPR and NMR) and their catalytic competence at room temperature and low catalyst loading (1-2.5 mol%) in 2-furaldehyde/sec-amine domino, Friedel-Crafts type alkylation and in Petasis-Mannich reactions. By maintaining the hard 4f centre invariant and tuning the 3d centre (Co, Ni, Cu, or Zn), we have shown that valuable mechanistic information can be extracted by correlating product distributions and selectivity vs. metal properties.

b) 3d coordination polymers in Catalysis.

We reported a library of 3d coordination polymers based on semi-flexible benzotriazole organic ligands. This library of compounds is an excellent kit, in terms of environmental impact perspective, for chemical transformations. By fine-tuning the coordination environment of the 3d metal centre and the organic ligand, valuable mechanistic information can be extracted to understand the reactivity of these new materials.

c) Polynuclear Inorganic Clusters Database (PICD),

Implementing the needs of modern Coordination Chemistry we developed an algorithm which simplifies the structure of a CC into a skeleton-motif by using the TOPOS software (http://www.sussex.ac.uk/lifesci/kostakislab/picd/). This methodology can be used as to identify: (a) structural similarities between new compounds and those reported previously, (b) all the CCs of similar motif and nuclearity, (c) motifs which are similar and vary only in the metal center, (d) similarities between CCs of lower and higher nuclearity through subgraph search, as well as to facilitate (e) the description of very complicated structures. This approach can be considered as a very useful tool to understand the synthesis of complex CCs and thus can aid researchers to obtain some insight of their synthesis and potentially rationalise it.