Dr Ben Ward

Dr Ben Ward

Senior Lecturer in Inorganic Chemistry

School of Chemistry

Email:
wardbd@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone:
+44 (0)29 2087 0302
Fax:
+44 (0)29 2087 4030

Research in the Ward group is concerned with the catalytic applications of main group and early transition metal organometallic and coordination complexes.  The group has a particular interest in the development of new chiral catalysts based upon the alkaline earth, lanthanide, and early transition metals. Our research involves a significant amount of organic and inorganic syntheses, catalyst testing and optimisation, and mechanistic determination using state-of-the-art  spectroscopic techniques and computational modelling methods.

DPhil University of Oxford (2002, P. Mountford, synthesis and reactivity of Groups 3 and 6 complexes supported by polydentate N-donor ligands). Post-doctoral Research Fellow, University of Oxford (2002, P. Mountford, synthesis and polymerisation catalysis with Group 3 complexes supported by macrocyclic ligands). Post-doctoral Research Fellow, Università Louis Pasteur, Strasbourg, France (2003-4, L. H. Gade, asymmetric catalysis using C3-symmetry).  Marie Curie Intra-European Research Fellow, Universitat Heidelberg, Germany (2005-7, L. H. Gade, stereoselective Fe- and Co-catalysed oxidation and peroxidation of hydrocarbons; isotactic olefin polymerisation with Group 3 catalysts). Research Fellow, CaRLa - Catalysis Research Laboratory, Heidelberg, Germany (2007, L. H. Gade, stereospecific olefin polymerisation). Appointed lecturer, Cardiff, in 2007.

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CH3102 Foundations of Inorganic Chemistry

CH3202 Applications of Molecular Spectroscopy

CH2301 Training in Research methods

CH2402 Ligand Influences, Structure, Reactivity

CH3402 Medicinal Inorganic Chemistry

CHT221 Mechanism and Ligand Design in Homogeneous Catalysis

Details of each module is available in course finder

Research in the Ward group is concerned with the catalytic applications of main group and early transition metal organometallic and coordination complexes.   Our research specifically concentrates on the Alkaline Earth metals (magnesium, calcium and strontium) and the lanthanide metals.

  • Preparation of new ligand environments for S-block and early transition metals
  • Development of asymmetric catalytic reactions using alkaline earth and lanthanide metals
  • Analysis of the coordination chemistry of alkaline earth and lanthanide metals when supported by chiral ligand environments
  • Reaction mechanism determination using spectroscopic analysis of catalytic intermediates

One of our recent highlights has been the development of chiral calcium complexes for the asymmetric hydroamination of amino-olefins.[1,2]   In our latest publications, we reported the highest enantioselectivity for this reaction when using calcium as an environmentally friendly and inexpensive alternative to precious metal catalysts.[1]

One of the major challenges associated with the coordination complexes of calcium is their propensity to undergo ligands redistribution, or "Schlenk" equilibria.   This is a significant problem in relation to their catalytic performance, and ligands need to be designed that are able to control or supress these processes.[2]

In order to achieve our aims in catalysis, a significant amount of effort is spent on the development of new chiral ligands: we have recently reported a general route to a class of N-functionalised ethylene diamines,[1] which can be employed either as ligands in their own right, or as precursors for preparing imidazoline ligands.[2]