Schlenk centrifuge: in addition to micro-centrifuges in the glove box, work-up of large-scale salt-forming reactions are faster and easier.

Group Wiki page - access it here -


the group's diffractometer: the Xcalibur Eos single crystal x-ray diffractometer makes handling very sensitive crystals significantly easier, and collecting and solving our own x-ray data provides additional skills.


PLA: Recent CV. Polly holds the Crum Brown Chair of Chemistry at the University of Edinburgh. She took her degrees at Oxford and Sussex, and was a Fulbright postdoctoral fellow at MIT before returning to the UK to a lectureship in 1999. Her research is focused on exploratory synthetic chemistry, specifically the design and synthesis of metal compounds that can activate small, traditionally unreactive molecules such as carbon oxides and hydrocarbons, with the ultimate goal of developing these into innovative catalytic transformations. By working with some of the heaviest and most reactive metals, including uranium, new fundamental knowledge is gained that can help with understanding the behavior of nuclear wastes.

Polly has received a variety of awards and prizes including the Seaborg Lectureship 2015 (University of California Berkeley, USA) and the Corday Morgan 2012 prize from the Royal Society of Chemistry. She is a Hans Fischer Senior Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Study at the Technical University of Munich (Germany), and a Senior Visiting Fellow at Fudan University (China).  Supported by the Royal Society's 2012 Rosalind Franklin award, Polly also made 'A Chemical Imbalance', a film and book that celebrates women in science, and explores the issues that contribute to their continuing under-representation.

four postdocs: Drs Nicola Bell and Brad Cowie are working on new actinyl chemistry and C-H/C-element bond activation supported by constrained and macrocyclic ligand frameworks. Dr Cath Weetman is DSTL funded for catalytic metal-N-heterocyclic carbene bond activation chemistry, and working on sustainable catalysis in the EaStCHEMcollaborative catalysis programme and UK catalysis hub; joint with Prof. Jason Love. Dr Tatsumi Ociai is working on f-block structure and bonding and C-H activation chemistry. All are EPSRC-funded.

ten PhD students: Max McMullon, Julia Rieb and Kai Wang are working on f-block N-heterocyclic carbene chemistry, including C-H activation and new element bond forming reactions, for example carbon dioxide insertion chemistry. Max and Julia form the core of the collaborative C-H bond activation programme which is a collaboration with the TU Munich in Germany. Ryan is working in collaboration with Andrew Smith in St Andrews on asymmetric anionic NHCs for catalysis, as part of the Criticat CDT. Marketa Suvova, Jordann Wells, Megan Seymour, and Connor Halliday are working on the use of large and constrained geometry ligands that incorporate stabilising arene interactions for small molecule activation chemistry (hydrocarbons, CO, CO2, and N2 activation and catalysis). Jamie Purkis and Brian Shaw are working on uranyl functionalisation and using macrocycles to constrain and control reactivity. Some of the actinide chemistry is carried out in the Actinide research lab of the EU Joint Research Centre for Nuclear safety and security, in Karlsruhe, Germany. Work on the macrocyclic ligands is carried out iin collaboration with Prof. Jason Love.


view a drawing of our labs.

Each group member has their own high-vacuum Schlenk line in their own wide fumehood. The labs are centrally plumbed for inert gases and two, controllable levels of low-level vacuum for organic chemical procedures.

We share the group office, tea-room and library, and glove box room, with Jason Love's group.

lab line line
office office and tea room



Full set of solvent drying towers. The towers are from Vac Atmospheres, and run on a new, recirculating system designed to dry solvents more effectively than conventional solvent towers.


We have two single MBraun glove boxes, running at sub 1ppm oxygen and moisture levels, and have just commissioned a new double Vac Atmospheres glove box which we share with Jason Love's group. All boxes are fitted with -30C freezers and centrifuges.

The glove boxes are equipped with feed-throughs for electrical leads, so that cyclic voltammetric (CV) experiments can be run inside the box. The CV kit can be moved between boxes as required.

We have both a turbomolecular pump - controlled glass line for high vacuum sublimations, and a large, high-vacuum glass line for vacuum transfers and gas reactions.

In addition to the glove box -30C freezers, we have fridges and freezers covering the temperature range 0C to -80C.

We also appreciate the importance of having a well stocked chemical fridge.

- last modified 2/02/17 - return to Edinburgh Chemistry - return to PLAgroup home - copyright Polly L Arnold -