Prof Richard Layfield - research



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Lanthanide organometallics as precursors to single-molecule magnets

In 2010, we reported the first example of an organometallic single-molecule magnet (SMM) the dysprosium dimer [Cp2Dy(bta)]2 (Cp = cyclopentadienyl; bta = benzotriazole) (Chem. Eur. J. 2010, 4442). Low-temperature ac magnetic susceptibility measurements on this compound in zero applied dc field reveal a strong frequency dependence of the out-of-phase susceptibility. The energy barrier to magnetization reversal is 46.5 K, one of the largest energy barriers observed for a lanthanide-only SMM.



Alkali and and alkaline earth metal complexes of bifunctional allyl and pentadienyl carbanions

We are interested in the fundamental structure and bonding within s-block metal complexes of allyl and pentadienyl anions (for a review see Dalton Trans., 2010, 2469). Our work in this area is oriented towards the applications of these compounds in regioselective organic synthesis. We are particularly interested in exploring the influence of s-block metal coordination by internal Lewis basic groups on the structure of the carbanions, which can be dramatically altered relative to their unfunctionalized analogues (Chem. Comm., 2008, 3142). Our work in this area combines X-ray crystallography and NMR spectroscopy with high-level computational chemistry with our collaborators (Eur. J. Inorg. Chem., 2009, 4157).

Low-coordinate transition metal amides as precursors to cage and cluster compounds

We are interested in the applications of low-coordinate transition metal amido complexes as precursors to polymetallic cage complexes. Of particular interest is the iron(II) silylamide [Fe{N(SiMe3)2}2] and its reactions with N-H acidic heterocycles. We have found that the cage complexes formed in these reactions possess a range of interesting structures and magnetic properties, such as the occurrence of very large zero-field splittings. This work was recently published as an ASAP article in Inorganic Chemistry.

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