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Melvyn R. Churchill

10Churchill, MelProfessor
Office: 532 Natural Sciences Complex
Phone: (716) 645-4190
Fax: (716) 645-6963


B.Sc., Imperial College of Science & Technology (1961)
Ph.D., Imperial College of Science & Technology, University of London, U. K. (1964)

Awards and Honors:

Alfred P. Sloan Fellow, Harvard University (1966-68)
Corday-Morgan Medal, Chemical Society, London (1976)
Professeur associé, Université de Strasbourg, France (1981-82)
Jacob F. Schoellkopf Award, WNY-ACS (2000)


X-ray diffraction studies on organometallic and inorganic complexes, with emphasis on derivatives of metal carbonyl clusters and the binding of unusual organic fragments to transition metal centers; crystallographic disorder; hydrogen bonding; absolute configuration.

Research Summary:

My research group is interested primarily in the determination of the molecular geometry of unusual organometallic molecules. Structural trends and variations in molecular systems are studied and related, where possible, to the formation and reactivity of the individual molecules. For complicated molecules (e.g., substitution products of small metal clusters and high-nuclearity metal clusters), an X-ray diffraction study is often the sole means of determining the stoichiometry and connectivity of the species. Areas of present and future interest include the following:

  1. Mononuclear and polynuclear complexes containing unusual organic or nitrogenous ligands – particularly species formed by the scission of multiple bonds and those formed by the fusion of small organic substrates.
  2. The geometry of substitution products of metal clusters.
  3. Bonding electron density in carboranes and boranes.
  4. Methods of solving disordered structures–particularly pseudo-symmetrical metal cluster derivatives.
  5. Hydrogen bonding, particularly in solvated crystals.
  6. Determination of absolute configuration of chiral molecules.

Selected Recent Publications:

  1. T. Beachley, Jr., James R. Gardinier, Melvyn Rowen Churchill, David George Churchill and Kim M. Keil, “Monomeric Gallium(III) Compounds Containing Three Different Ligands. Crystal and Molecular Structures of GaMeCl(acac) and GaCl[N(SiMe3)2 ](acac).” Organometallics 21(5), 946-951 (2002).
  2. Daniel A. Durfey, Rein U. Kirss, Melvyn Rowen Churchill, Kim M. Keil and William Feighery, “Synthesis and Characterization of Some Alkyl(diferrocenyl)phosphines and Alkyl(diferrocenyl)phosphine Oxides.” Synth. React. Inorg. Met.-Org. Chem. 32(1), 97-115 (2002).
  3. My Hang V. Huynh, Jennifer Smyth, Modi Wetzler, Brendan Mort, Paul K. Gong, Laura M. Witham, Donald L. Jameson, David K. Geiger, Joanne M. Lasker, Mina Charepoo, Michelle Gornikiewicz, Jose M. Cintron, Gretchen Imahori, Roberto R. Sanchez, Amy C. Marschilok, Lynn M. Krajkowski, David G. Churchill, Melvyn Rowen Churchill and Kenneth J. Takeuchi, “Remarkable Rate Enhancement of Ligand Substitution Promoted by Geometrical Arrangement of Tridentate ‘Spectator’ Ligands.” Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 40(23), 4469-4473 (2001).
  4. T. Beachley, Jr., Sun-Hua L. Chao, Melvyn Rowen Churchill and Charles H. Lake, “Reactions of Neopentylindium(III) Derivatives with Isopropylphosphorus Compounds.” Organometallics 20, 4896-4902 (2001).
  5. My Hang V. Huynh, Joanne M. Lasker, Modi Wetzler, Brendan Mort, Lisa F. Szczepura, Laura M. Witham, Jose M. Cintron, Amy C. Marschilok, Lily J. Ackerman, Ronald K. Castellano, Donald L. Jameson, Melvyn Rowen Churchill, Alan J. Jircitano and Kenneth J. Takeuchi, “Remarkable Spectator Ligand Effect on the Rate Constant of Ligand Substitution of (Aqua)ruthenium(II) Complexes.” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 123, 8780-8784 (2001).
  6. Melvyn Rowen Churchill, Kim M. Keil, Brian P. Gilmartin, Joshua J. Schuster, Jerome B. Keister and Thomas S. Janik, “Linkage and Redox Isomerism in Ruthenium Complexes of Catecholate, Semi-quinone, and o-Acylphenolate Ligands Derived from Tri- and Tetrahydroxy-9,10-anthracenediones.” Inorg. Chem. 40, 4361-4367 (2001).
  7. T. Beachley, Jr., Michael T. Mosscrop and Melvyn Rowen Churchill, “Chemistry of (Tetramethylcyclopentadienyl)gallium(III) Compounds,” J. Organomet. Chem. 626, 59-67 (2001).
  8. David A. Voss, Jr., Lisa A. Buttrey-Thomas, Thomas S. Janik, Melvyn Rowen Churchill and Janet R. Morrow, “Lanthanide(III) Hexaaza Macrocyclic Schiff-Base Complexes and Their Decomposition in Aqueous Solution,” Inorg. Chim. Acta 317, 149-156 (2001).
  9. Melvyn R. Churchill, Kim M. Keil, Thomas S. Janik and Michael C. Willoughby, “Synthesis of a Dinuclear Ylid Complex Derived from P(OPh)3: Crystal Structures of [Cp2Fe2(CO)2(µ-CO)(µ-CHP(OPh)3)+][BF4] and [Cp2Fe2(CO)2(µ-CO)(µ-CHPPh3)+][BF4],” J. Coord. Chem. 52, 229-244 (2001).
  10. Melvyn Rowen Churchill, Charles H. Lake, Lisa A. Buttrey, and Janet R. Morrow, “Synthesis and Crystallographic Characterization of [Eu(C18H18N6)(OAc)2+][Cl]·7H2O, a Ten-Coordinate Eu(III) Complex With a Close-To-Planar Hexadentate C18H18N6 Ligand: An Interesting Case of a Structure with Multiple Disorder Problems.” J. Coord. Chem. 50, 339-352 (2000).