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

  • Thomas, H. P., Marr, A. C., Morgan, P. J., & Saunders, G. C. (2018). Tethering of Pentamethylcyclopentadienyl and N-Heterocycle stabilized carbene ligands by intramolecular 1,4-Addition to a polyfluorophenyl substituent. Organometallics, 37(9), 1339-1341. doi:10.1021/acs.organomet.8b00164

  • Lorenzini, F., Marr, A. C., Saunders, G. C., & Thomas, H. P. (2018). The structures of 1-(2-halo-6-fluorophenylmethyl)-1-methylimidazolium bromide salts. Journal of Fluorine Chemistry, 210, 102-111. doi:10.1016/j.jfluchem.2018.03.006

  • Althagbi, H. I., Bernstein, D. R., Crombie, W. C., Lane, J. R., McQuiston, D. K., Oosterwijk, M. A., . . . Zou, W. (2017). The crystal structures of 1-(4-halo-2,3,5,6-tetrafluorophenyl)-3-benzylimidazolium bromides: The relative importance of anion–π, lone pair–π, π–π stacking and halogen bonding interactions. Journal of Fluorine Chemistry, 206, 61-71. doi:10.1016/j.jfluchem.2017.12.006

  • Ma, Y., Wang, Y. -M., Morgan, P. J., Jackson, R. E., Liu, X. -H., Saunders, G. C., . . . Marr, A. C. (2017). Designing effective homogeneous catalysis for glycerol valorisation: selective synthesis of a value-added aldehyde from 1,3-propanediol via hydrogen transfer catalysed by a highly recyclable, fluorinated Cp*Ir(NHC) catalyst. Catalysis Today. doi:10.1016/j.cattod.2017.09.036

View All research publications by Graham Saunders

Contact Details

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