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We thank the above organizations for their generous support of our research.
A Wordle word cloud, made from the text of my Discovery Grant (in UVic colours)
We're inorganic chemists who discover and
make new catalysts. We use electrospray
ionization mass spectrometry as a rapid investigative
tool to probe systems intractable to other approaches.
Further details are given below; also see our
We have work in progress on systems as diverse as palladium-catalyzed cross-coupling reactions, biodiesel synthesis, activators for olefin polymerization, platinum-catalyzed hydrosilylation, and rhodium-catalyzed hydrogenation. We can track reactions in exquisite detail - see below for an example of the kind of data we get - 9000+ data points on every component of a catalytic reaction mixture including starting material, product, byproduct(s), AND key intermediates. Contact Scott for more details of current projects.
We are interested in reactions catalysed by transition metal complexes, with a particular interest in those that are charged . We design ligands for this express purpose [43, 56, 58]. The resulting charged complexes are of particular interest as they are suitable for use in green reaction media (such as water or ionic liquids)  and have the advantage of being amenable to study using ESI-MS .
The group uses electrospray ionization (ESI) tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) as its primary characterization tool, and we operate a high performance hybrid quadrupole/time-of-flight instrument. Primarily used for the study of high-mass biological molecules, ESI-MS is a powerful and sensitive technique capable of rapidly characterising complex mixtures at very low concentration [10, 13, 18]. As such, it's a great tool for in situ studies of catalysis in action - but it has weaknesses that we've had to address. We've shown we can spray non-polar solvents , blur the distinction between gas and solution phase [48, 50], study catalysts in ionic liquids [29, 34], do ESI-MS under oxygen- and moisture-free conditions , monitor reaction continuously  and developed a way to reduce the large quantities of structural data obtained from MS studies to a manageable size in a visually attractive and intuitive way [9, 17, 30].
© JS McIndoe, Department of Chemistry, University of Victoria · Updated 27 March, 2012