Past Event

Chemistry Colloquium, Presented by Prof. Robert J. Gilliard, Jr., University of Virginia

December 8, 2022
4:30 PM - 5:30 PM
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Havemeyer 209
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Main-Group Cations, Anions, and Radicals: From Redox Chemistry to Luminescent Materials

Presented by Prof. Robert J. Gilliard, Jr.
Hosted by Prof. Ged Parkin


Research efforts in the Gilliard laboratory span diverse areas of chemical synthesis. While the redox chemistry of transition metals is established, the development of main-group element-mediated redox reactions remain a major challenge. This is in part due to inherent differences in electronic structure and the highly reactive nature of main-group elements in low oxidation states. Thus, we have been interested in the design and isolation of low-oxidation state and cationic main-group compounds that impact energy-relevant molecular transformations, including reactions with small molecules (e.g., carbon dioxide, dihydrogen). Our work has mostly centered around establishing bonding and reactivity trends among the alkaline earth metals (Be, Mg) and heavy pnictogens (Sb, Bi). Thus far, we have isolated s-block radical cations and demonstrated that low-valent s-block compounds can be redox-active. Recently, we have begun to study heterocycles “doped” with boron for the development of new π-electron materials with unusual bonding and photophysical properties. This has led to the synthesis of new anionic borafluorene and borepin chemical synthons, thermochromic and thermoluminescent borafluorenium ions, and stable boracyclic radicals. Our primary goal has been to isolate molecules in rare electronic states and to provide a link between structure and function. This presentation will highlight our most recent results in these research areas.

Prof. Gilliard is a native of Hartsville, South Carolina, United States. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in chemistry at Clemson University where he was an undergraduate researcher in the laboratory of Prof. Rhett C. Smith. He earned his doctorate in chemistry at The University of Georgia with Prof. Gregory H. Robinson. Gilliard was a Merck Postdoctoral Fellow and a Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow where he completed his studies working jointly at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zürich) with Prof. Hansjörg Grützmacher and at Case Western Reserve University with Prof. John Protasiewicz. Gilliard joined the faculty at the University of Virginia in 2017 where he is now an Associate Professor of Chemistry. He has received several awards and honors. Recent national and international awards include: 3M Non-Tenured Faculty Award, Chemical and Engineering News Talented 12 Scholar, Scialog Collaborative Innovation Award, National Science Foundation CAREER Award, Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow, Organometallics Distinguished Author Award, Beckman Young Investigator Award, Packard Fellowship for Science and Engineering, Lloyd N. Ferguson Award for Excellence in Research. He also serves on the editorial advisory board for Chemical Communications, Chem Catalysis, Inorganic Chemistry, and Angewandte Chemie.

More About Prof. Gilliard, Jr.

Contact Information

(212) 854-2202