The Liddle Group - Organometallic Synthesis and Reactivity Banner

Home Tag

Steve Liddle Tag

Group Tag

Research Tag


Funding Tag

Joining the Group Tag

News Tag

Links Tag

Contact Tag



Welcome to the Liddle Research Group web pages!

We are based at the School of Chemistry, University of Manchester and are interested in all aspects of organometallic chemistry across the periodic table. Our research has a particular emphasis on the chemistry of lanthanide (we include group 3 metals in this definition) and actinide (principally uranium and thorium but also neptunium and plutonium) complexes which challenge preconceived ideas.

Specific topics which we are currently investigating include:

  • uranium-metal(loidal) bonds.
  • f-block carbenes.
  • uranium-ligand multiple bonding.
  • f-block single molecule magnets.
  • small molecule activation.

Our work has received generous support from a wide range of sources including the Royal Society, EPSRC, ERC, Marie Curie IIF, COST, NSCCS, Nuffield Foundation, University of Nottingham, University of Manchester, and the National Nuclear Laboratories, and this has resulted in ~150 publications.

We collaborate with research groups based within Manchester, the UK, and internationally, and our work has been regularly highlighted in Chemical Engineering News, Chemistry World, the Materials Research Society, Chemistry in Australia, and Nature Chemistry.

We are also active in communication of science to the public and have been part of the award-winning Periodic Videos project which can be found on YouTube.

Our research is carried out in modern, well equipped labs, where we routinely employ Schlenk and Glovebox methods, and in an integrated approach we use a wide variety of structural, spectroscopic, magnetic, and computational techniques to comprehensively characterise new compounds and reactions.

If you are interested in joining our group, and/or are interested in our science and what excites us, then some highlights are illustrated to the right and further information and contact details can be found by following the links shown to the left. If you require any further information about our work please feel free to contact us directly.


Recent Highlights

Uranium nitride triple bond

Fig. 1. After decades of attempts, the first example of a terminal uranium-nitrogen triple bond with uranium(V). Key: green (U), black (C), blue (N), orange (Si), red (O), dark blue (Na), hydrogen atoms omitted for clarity. See: "Synthesis and Structure of a Terminal Uranium Nitride Complex" Science, 2012, 337, 717-720. For the follow-up work reporting the synthesis of the first example of a terminal uranium(VI)-nitrogen triple bond, see: "Isolation and characterisation of a uranium(VI)-nitride triple bond" Nat. Chem., 2013, 5, 482-488. For reductive carbonylation reactivity studies of these uranium-nitrides, see: "Two-Electron Reductive Carbonylation of Terminal Uranium(V) and Uranium(VI) Nitrides to Cyanate by Carbon Monoxide" Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2014, 53, 10412-10415. For subsequent, closely related work on parent uranium-imido, parent uranium-phosphinidene and uranium-arsenic single, double, and triple bond chemistry, see: "Synthesis and Characterization of an f-Block Terminal Parent Imido [U=NH] Complex: A Masked Uranium(IV)-Nitride" J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2014, 136, 5619-5622; "Triamidoamine-Uranium(IV)-Stabilized Terminal Parent Phosphide and Phosphinidene Complexes" Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2014, 53, 4484-4488; "Triamidoamine Uranium(IV)-Arsenic Complexes Containing One-, Two-, and Three-fold U-As Bonding Interactions" Nat. Chem., 2015, 7, 582-590.

uranium cyclobutadienyl complex

Fig. 2. After a dearth of examples spanning decades, the first example of an f-block cyclobutadienyl complex. Key: green (U), black (C), blue (N), orange (Si), hydrogen atoms omitted for clarity. See: "Reductive assembly of cyclobutadienyl and diphosphacyclobutadienyl rings at uranium" Nat. Commun., 2013, 4, 2323, doi:10.1038/ncomms3323.

Ethyne diolate complex of uranium

Fig. 3. The first synthetic cycle for the recyclable fixation and derivatisation of carbon monoxide to give furanones. Key: green (U), black (C), blue (N), orange (Si), red (O), hydrogen atoms omitted for clarity. See: "Homologation and functionalization of carbon monoxide by a recyclable uranium complex" Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA, 2012, 109, 9265-9270.

Diuranium arene-bridged single molecule magnet

Fig. 4. The first polyuranium single molecule magnet. Key: green (U), black (C), blue (N), orange (Si), magenta (P), pink (I), hydrogen atoms omitted for clarity. See: "A delocalized arene-bridged diuranium single-molecule magnet" Nat. Chem., 2011, 3, 454-460.


Last updated: 26.01.2016
  Copyright Steve Liddle   Top of page