In a close collaboration between AMIBM and MSP, we have been focusing on the development of Vanadium and group IV (Ti) based catalysts that polymerise alkenes to make high molecular weight polymers (UHMWPE, in particular).

These catalyst precursors tend to be highly reactive and advanced synthetic (Schlenk and glove-box) techniques are employed. The emerging polymerisation reactions are carried out at high pressures and the polymers characterised by advanced techniques including Rheology and DSC.  We are also engaged in mechanistic studies of how these complexes are activated with co-catalysts.

We also enjoy a collaboration with University of Cologne's Prof Axel Klein, who is involved in catalytically relevant Ni(II) and Pd(II) complexes and have a vigorous student exchange with his group. We have also interacted with Christian van Slagmaat who developed iron-based catalysts in collaboration with two of our students.


  • A. Fiorentino, P. Panariti, L. v. Turnhout, M. Spronck, A. Klein, S. Schmitz, S. Rastogi, B. Blom, D. Romano
    Immobilization of [VCl3(N-2,6-Me2C6H3)] Complex on Silica Supports: Synthesis and Catalytic Testing for Ethylene Polymerization
    Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., 2020, 59 (28), 12710

  • H. Yang, Y. van Ingen, B. Blom, S. Rastogi, D. Romano
    Structural modification of phenoxyimine titanium complexes and activation studies with alkylaluminum compounds
    ChemCatChem, 2020, accepted,

  • C. A. M. R. van Slagmaat, Khi Chhay Chou, Lukas Moric, Darya Hadavi, B. Blom , and S. M. A. De Wildeman
    Synthesis and Catalytic Application of Knölker-type Iron Complexes with a Novel Asymmetric Cyclopentadienone Ligand Design
    Catalysts 2019, 9 (10), 790.

  • M. Spronck, A. Klein, B. Blom, D. Romano
    Synthesis of Disentangled Ultra‐High Molecular Weight Polyethylene using Vanadium(V)‐Based Catalysts
    Z. Anorg. Allg. Chem. 2018, 644(17), 993

  • van Leeuwen, Nicole S.; Blom, Burgert; Xie, Mengying; Adamaki, Vana; Bowen, Chris R.; de Araujo, Moises A.; Mascaro, Lucia H.; Cameron, Petra J.; Marken, Frank
    Appl. Energy Mat. 2018, 1, 38

  • M. Schmidt,  B. Blom, T. Szilvási, M. Driess, R. Schomaeker
    Improving the Catalytic Activity in   the Rhodium-Mediated Hydroformylation of Styrene by a Bis(N-heterocyclic silylene) Ligand
    Eur. J. Inorg. Chem. 2017, 1284.

Student participation

Nickel and Palladium Chemistry

Development of Titanium Based Catalysts for Ethylene Polymerisation and Mechanistic Studies.

We studied the activation of a series of group IV complexes of Titanium with a variety of alkyl aluminium reagents, did ethene polymerisation and rheology on the emerging polymers; and Density functional theory calculations (DFT) to discover why certain activations lead to higher polymerisation rates. Published in ChemCatChem

Student: Yara. van Ingen

Iron based Catalysis

A series of cyclopentadienyl iron based complexes were prepared and fully characterised by spectroscopic means and used as catalyst precursors. DFT studies elucidating the electronic structure was also reported. Carried out under the supervision of Christiaan van Slagmaat. Published in Catalysts

Students: Alfonso Schwalb and Khi Chou