C-H Activation Chemistry

Prof. Polly L. Arnold, of the University of Edinburgh, was working on C-H activation chemistry as a Hans Fischer Senior Fellow at TUM-IAS with the group of her TUM host Prof. Fritz E. Kühn.

Polly Arnold’s research is focused on exploratory synthetic chemistry that challenges preconceived ideas of structure, reactivity, and bonding in electropositive metal complexes. Her group is recognized particularly for f-block chemistry and innovative catalytic transformations and in the activation of small, unreactive molecules such as carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, dinitrogen, silanes and hydrocarbons.

Fritz Kühn’s research deals with molecular catalysts, both in homogeneous phase and immobilized. The catalysts are usually organometallic complexes, based on transition metals. The main research interest is focussed on finding novel, highly efficient, selective energy conserving catalysts that are, in principle, applicable for industrial demands.

This focus group combines the Edinburgh and Munich research groups' expertise in synthesis and catalysis in order to develop new selective hydrocarbon functionalisation chemistry, i.e. tools for the conversion of the most unreactive carbon-hydrogen bonds in biomass and fossil fuels into useful, value-added, functional groups. In particular, the group is working with strongly Lewis acidic and high valent metal complexes to generate new catalysts and processes, and also an understanding of the fundamental chemistry involved in selective carbon-hydrogen bond activation processes.

The program aimed to generate new fundamental understanding, highly skilled researchers, and atom-efficient, low-energy routes to high-value chemicals of use to both industry and society.

TUM-IAS funded doctoral candidate:
Julia Rieb (PhD in 2017), Molecular Catalysis

Publications by the Focus Group


  • Rieb, Julia: Synthesis and Characterisation of N-Heterocyclic Carbene Complexes of Rare Earth and Coinage Metals. Dissertation, 2017 more…


  • Arnold, Polly L.; Prescimone, Alessandro; Farnaby, Joy H.; Mansell, Stephen M.; Parsons, Simon; Kaltsoyannis, Nikolas: Characterizing Pressure-Induced Uranium C-H Agostic Bonds. Angewandte Chemie International Edition 54 (23), 2015, 6735-6739 more…


  • Arnold, Polly L.; McMullon, Max W.; Rieb, Julia; Kühn, Fritz E.: CH Bond Activation by f-Block Complexes. Angewandte Chemie International Edition 54 (1), 2014, 82-100 more…