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Jim D. Atwood

Atwood, JimSUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor
Office: 556 Natural Sciences Complex
Phone: (716) 645-4201
Fax: (716) 645-6963


B.S., Southwest Missouri State University (1971)
Ph.D., University of Illinois (1975)
Fellow US-USSR Program of Cooperation in Homogeneous Catalysis (1975-76)
Alfred P. Sloan Fellow (1983-85)
Humboldt Research Fellow (1984)

Awards and Honors:

SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor (2013)
Schoellkopf Award, WNY Section, ACS (2005)
Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching (2003)
Sloan Fellowship (1981-1983)
1 Patent


Synthesis and spectroscopy of organometallic compounds; kinetics and mechanisms of organometallic reactions; homogeneous catalysts.

Research Summary:

Our interests lie in reactivity and mechanistic studies of organometallic complexes. Current emphasis is on exploration of organometallic complexes in aqueous environments. Water-soluble phosphine ligands (TPPTS = P(m-C6H4SO3Na)3 or TPPMS = PPh2(m-C6H4SO3K)) can replace PPh3 in almost all organometallic complexes; the resulting complexes are soluble in water. These complexes offer the potential to use organometallic reagents in environmentally-friendly conditions.

One portion of our research is directed toward understanding organometallic complexes in water. Hydrogen bonding and formation of ions are much more important for organometallic complexes in water. Some geometric changes are also noted in aqueous solution in comparison to organic solutions. Although the phosphine ligands are large, in aqueous solution they show a strong tendency to be adjacent. Effect of pH provides a variable that has no analogue in organic solutions.

We are also pursuing reactions in which water is a reactant. Hydration, hydrolysis, water-gas shift reactions, etc. are important catalytic reactions that involve water as a reactant. Such reactions could be facilitated in aqueous solution.

Our research is basic in the search for understanding of organometallic complexes in water, but has direct applications in important catalytic reactions.

Selected Recent Publications:

  1. S. Pryadun, O. O. Gerlits and J. D. Atwood, “Structural Studies on Platinum Alkene Complexes and Precursors”, J. Coord. Chem. 2006, 59, 85.
  2. S. Helfer, D. S. Phaho and J. D. Atwood, “Formation of [Pt(η3-allyl) (TPPTS)2]+ from Reaction of cis-Pt(Cl)2(TPPTS)2 and Various Alkenols in Water (TPPTS = P(m-C6H4SO3Na)3)”, Organometallics 2006, 25, 410.
  3. J. Harrigan and J. D. Atwood, “Hydride Participation in Electron Transfer Processes between Metal Carbonyl Anions and Cations”, Organometallics 2004, 23, 846.
  4. S. Helfer and J. D. Atwood, “Pt Catalyzed Wacker Oxidation of Alkenes Utilizing cis-Pt(Cl)2(TPPTS)2 (TPPTS = P(m-C6H4SO3Na)3)”, Organometallics 2004, 23, 2412.
  5. Pryadun, D. Sukumaran and J. D. Atwood, “Amine Attack on Coordinated Alkenes: An Interconversion from anti-Markovnikoff to Markovnikoff Products”, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2004, 126, 12414.
  6. W. Lucey, D. S. Helfer and J. D. Atwood, “Stability of Methyl Platinum Complexes in Water: The Role of pH and Geometry”, Organometallics 2003, 22, 826.