SIF 2nd Cohort Fellows - Sébastien Lapointe, University of Warwick

Curriculum Vitae
  • Education
August 2020, Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University, OIST (Okinawa, Japan), Organometallic/Coordination Chemistry
Thesis title: Nickel Complexes of New Electron-Rich, Sterically-Hindered PNP Pincer Ligands

July 2016, Master of Science (M.Sc.), Université de Montréal, UdeM (Montréal, Canada), Organometallic Chemistry
Thesis title: Synthesis, Reactivities, and Catalytic studies of Cationic POCOP complexes of Nickel

August 2012, Bachelor of Science (B.Sc), Université de Montréal, UdeM (Montréal, Canada), Chemistry
  • Experience
01/09/2020-31/08/2022, Post-Doctoral Researcher, Anorganische Chemie II, Group of Viktoria H. Gessner, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, RUB (Bochum, Germany)
Developed a new ylide-based PCN pincer ligand and studied the reactivity of multiple corresponding rhodium complexes.
  • Publications/Research achievements
Google Scholar

Research Project:


Pincer Catalysts for the Synthetic Exploitation of Nitrous Oxide

The use of nitrous oxide (N2O) in chemical synthesis is an enduring challenge, stimulated by the imperative to transition to sustainable feedstocks and the potential to remediate the detrimental environmental impact of this kinetically inert gas. This research program will attempt to establish the science underpinning the activation of N2O by homogenous transition-metal complexes and translate these findings into impactful catalytic applications.

Using group 9/10 metal complexes supported by robust mer-tridentate ‘pincer’ ligands, the formation and onward reactivity of intact M–N2O adducts will be leveraged to gain fundamental understanding of how N2O can be most effectively exploited in chemical synthesis, with the prospect for generating reactive terminal oxo derivatives rigorously examined. Through collaboration with the computational chemistry group of Pr. Mercedes Alonso Giner at the Vrije Universiteit Brussels (VUB), the mechanisms and structure-activity relationships underlying the coordination and activation of N2O will be established. These will be harnessed during the project to enable the rational design of new catalysts and achieve step-changes in performance for transformations employing N2O as an oxidant, with the development of new processes for the selective oxidation of hydrocarbons a central ambition.

The use of N2O in homogeneous catalysis has been a longstanding chemical challenge and realization of the project objectives would provide a legacy of textbook worthy knowledge. In the long term, with oxidation reactions employed in the catalytic production of more than half of all commercial chemicals, this work promises to be a conceptual steppingstone to more efficient and sustainable technologies.