Robin Perutz conducts research in the fields of inorganic chemistry, photochemistry and catalysis. Techniques devised by Robin have changed our views on the interactions of metals with small molecules. By providing understanding of chemical reactivities, they have enabled chemists to take a fresh approach to fundamental reactions and many industrial processes.
Using time-resolved spectroscopy, matrix isolation and product analysis, Robin showed that transition metals can bind to weak ligands such as alkanes and noble gases. He studied the photochemistry of metal hydrides and revealed pathways for carbon–hydrogen bond activation — a reaction in which the bond between carbon and hydrogen is cleaved and replaced by a bond to another type of atom.
Robin’s research on photochemistry is contributing to the great potential of solar fuels, which convert solar energy to chemical energy, as an energy source of the future. He has received a number of awards for his work, including the 2005 Nyholm Prize for Inorganic Chemistry. Notably, Robin is the son of Nobel Prize-winning molecular biologist, Max Perutz, himself elected FRS in 1954.
activation of small molecules,