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Inorganic Seminar Series: Jennifer Love (University of Calgary) – Via Zoom

September 17, 2020 | 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Jennifer Love
Jennifer Love, Professor and Department Head, University of Calgary

Towards catalytic methane functionalization with Pt complexes

The ability to convert methane into more useful, functionalised compounds has been a long-standing goal in organometallic chemistry. The first step to functionalising methane is to cleave one of the strong carbon-hydrogen bonds. Considerable efforts have been made to active the carbon-hydrogen bonds of methane in a controlled fashion (e.g., cleavage of only on C-H bond). The challenge is that most products of methane functionalisation have weaker bonds than methane and are therefore more susceptible to activation than methane, leading to undesired by-products in large quantities. Late transition metals, such as platinum, have been shown to be quite effective in breaking strong C-H bonds. We have recently explored the feasibility of catalytic methane functionalization employing aryl halides as oxidants. I will discuss our results solving some key challenges, including using aryl halide oxidative addition with Pt(II) complexes. We have recently developed new hemilabile P,N ligands that readily promote both oxidative addition and reductive elimination, and will compare these new ligands to more conventional N,N or P,P ligands. Notably, there is a significant and surprising role of sterics: only P,N ligands with significant steric bulk at phosphorus were capable of forming the strained Pt(II) chelates. These results will be discussed in the context of our ongoing efforts to catalytically functionalise methane.

Research Interests:

Jennifer Love’s research focuses on understanding the metallic centre to understand a metal’s reactivity and better predict reactions, most recently focussing on developing applications of first-row transition metals for methane upgrading to valorise this underused carbon source.


National Institutes of Health Postdoctoral Fellow, California Institute of Technology (Robert H. Grubbs, 2000-3); Ph. D., Stanford University (Paul A. Wender, 2000); B. S. (magna cum laude), Allegheny College (1994); Killam Teaching Prize (2009); AstraZeneca Canada Award in Chemistry (2008); Stanford University Centennial Teaching Award (1998); Phi Beta Kappa (1993)

During her time at UBC, Dr. Love led a research group dedicated to organic and organometallic chemistry, and served as Senior Advisor to the Provost, Women Faculty


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