Associate Professor Graham Saunders

Associate Professor

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

Personal Website:

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 (in progress). Synthesis and reactions of metal complexes of fluoroaryl-substituted N-heterocycle carbenes.


  • Pachal, Sam (2012). Superhydrophotitanium bic and titanium dioxide.

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

Recent Publications

  • Marr, A. C., Morgan, P. J., Saunders, G. C., & Thomas, H. P. (2019). Conversion of haloform to carbonate by iridium N-heterocyclic carbene complexes and silver(i) oxide. Dalton Transactions, 48(6), 1947-1949. doi:10.1039/c8dt04456b

  • McQuiston, D. K., Mucalo, M. R., & Saunders, G. C. (2019). The structure of posaconazole and its solvates with methanol, and dioxane and water: Difluorophenyl as a hydrogen bond donor. Journal of Molecular Structure, 1179, 477-486. doi:10.1016/j.molstruc.2018.11.031

  • Marr, A. C., Saunders, G. C., Thomas, H. P., & Wang, Y. M. (2019). Orthometallation in iridium N-heterocycle stabilized carbene complexes via carbon–halogen and carbon–hydrogen bond activation induced by silver nanoparticles. Inorganica Chimica Acta, 486, 1-7. doi:10.1016/j.ica.2018.10.016

  • Lockley, A. J., Marr, A. C., Saunders, G. C., & Thomas, H. P. (2019). Arene-polyfluoroarene π-π stacking between N-heterocyclic carbene ligands of pentamethylcyclopentadienyl group 9 metal complexes. Journal of Fluorine Chemistry, 220, 1-8. doi:10.1016/j.jfluchem.2019.01.006

View All research publications by Graham Saunders

Contact Details

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