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Research Fellows Directory

Michael Ingleson

Dr Michael Ingleson

Research Fellow


University of Manchester

Research summary

There has been an over reliance by chemists on using expensive, scarce and toxic transition metals to construct many materials and compounds used throughout society. Reducing the dependency on these precious metals requires the development of new and highly effective approaches to make bonds that are either metal free or use only cheap, abundant and non-toxic metals.

We are tackling this challenge on multiple fronts and two are described below:

(i) New metal free routes to carbon-boron bond formation (to generate ubiquitous intermediates for synthesis). Substituents of boron’s neighbour, carbon, are introduced onto unsaturated hydrocarbons by Friedel Crafts chemistry. Friedel Crafts substitution requires a strong carbon electrophile (a positive species seeking a source of electrons, the latter being termed a nucleophile) that directly reacts with the hydrocarbon. We are developing new boron electrophiles that also react directly with unsaturated hydrocarbons to generate new C-B bonds. We are also applying our C-B bond forming methodology to modulate the properties of conjugated oligomers and polymers in a controlled manner, fine tuning them for applications including field effect transistors, emissive materials and photovoltaics.

(ii) The activation of H2 and Si-H bonds for reductions (the addition of H2 / Si-H to a substrate) is a crucial process currently requires precious metals. When very bulky boron (or carbon) electrophiles are combined with sterically crowded nucleophiles they can cleave H2 in a concerted manner to formally produce H+ and H- which can then be delivered to a substrate to effect reduction. We are developing new Lewis acids that are more effective at this process, especially examples that can tolerate impurities such as water, which generally has to be painstakingly removed from solvents for reductions to proceed.

Interests and expertise (Subject groups)

Grants awarded

Borenium Cations: From the Esoteric to Versatile Reagents for Synthesis

Scheme: University Research Fellowship

Dates: Oct 2013 - Sep 2016

Value: £268,164.15

Weakly Coordinating Carborane Anions in Catalysis and Materials Design

Scheme: University Research Fellowship

Dates: Oct 2008 - Sep 2013

Value: £500,268.53