Associate Professor Graham C Saunders

Associate Professor

Qualifications: B.A.(Hons) Oxon, D.Phil Oxon

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Research Interests

Research is directed towards using the properties of the carbon―fluorine bond in organometallic chemistry and for highly repellant surfaces.

Organometallic Chemistry
The extreme strength and the electronic and steric properties of the C―F bond are used to confer useful properties on organometallic complexes, in particular catalytic activity.
C―F bond fission is used to synthesize organometallic complexes, not accessible by other routes.
Superhydrophobic Surfaces
The extreme water repellancy of perfluoroalkyl groups is used to confer superhydrophobicity on metal surfaces. The work has been highlighted by Nature and Scientific American. The simple fabrication technique allows a range of unusual phenomena to be investigated, such as the Cheerios Effect and 'super-buoyancy', which allows boats to be constructed of metal mesh, and has potential industrial importance.

Research Supervised


  • Thomas, Hayden (submitted). Synthesis and reactivity of iridium(III) and rhodium (III) piano-stool complexes of NHC ligands bearing fluorinated substituents.
  • Bandaru, Sravan (in progress). Synthesis and applications of metal complexes of carbohydrate and fluoroaryl substituted N-heterocyclic carbenes.
  • Acharige, Udari (in progress). Crystal Engineering via Imidazolium Salts.
  • Sain, Prithwish (in progress). Crystal Engineering by Arene-polyfluoroarene π-π stacking.


  • Pachal, Sam (2012). Superhydrophobic titanium and titanium dioxide.
  • Hanan Althagbi (2013). Perfluoroaryl heterocycles for crystl engineering.

BSc (Hons)

  • Thomas, Hayden (2015). Synthesis and characterisation of mecury and rhodium NHC complexes containing polyfluoroaryl substituents.
  • Schroder, Ivan (2012). Synthesis of dicyandiamide derivatives for agricultural applications.

Teaching Commitments


Chemistry; Science; X-Ray

Recent Publications

  • Tang, H., Saunders, G. C., Raymond, O., Ma, X., & Henderson, W. (2020). Pyrrole thioamide complexes of organo-rhodium(III), -iridium(III) and -ruthenium(II). Inorganica Chimica Acta, 506. doi:10.1016/j.ica.2020.119545

  • Marr, A. C., Saunders, G. C., & Thomas, H. (2020). The crystal structures of 1-(polyfluorophenylmethyl)-3-methylimidazolium bromide salts. Journal of Fluorine Chemistry, 235. doi:10.1016/j.jfluchem.2020.109556

  • Lane, J. R., & Saunders, G. C. (2020). Theoretical study of the structures of 4-(2,3,5,6-tetrafluoropyridyl)diphenylphosphine oxide and tris(pentafluorophenyl)phosphine oxide: Why does the crystal structure of (tetrafluoropyridyl)diphenylphosphine oxide have two different P=O bond lengths?. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland), 25(12), 11 pages. doi:10.3390/molecules25122778

  • Morgan, P. J., Hanson-Heine, M. W. D., Thomas, H. P., Saunders, G. C., Marr, A. C., & Licence, P. (2020). C-F Bond Activation of a Perfluorinated Ligand Leading to Nucleophilic Fluorination of an Organic Electrophile. Organometallics, 39(11), 2116-2124. doi:10.1021/acs.organomet.0c00176

View All research publications by Graham Saunders

Contact Details

Room: CD.3.01
Phone: +64 7 838 4092