Aaron Bloomfield

Assistant Professor
Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences
Chemistry & Biochemistry

327 Mellon Hall
Phone: 412.396.6345


Ph.D., Chemistry, Yale University
B.A., Chemistry, Cornell University

Many elementary steps in chemical reactions involve the motion of protons. In catalysis, proton transfer is often observed in close association with electron transfer (redox) processes, or during the bond-forming and bond-breaking processes.

Research in the Bloomfield group is focused on the design, preparation, and characterization of bifunctional molecular species containing first-row transition metals and chelating organic ligands containing functionality capable of donating or accepting one or more protons positioned close to the metal center, allowing for secondary interactions with inner- and outer-sphere species.

Secondary phosphine oxides (SPOs) and monoprotic aminophosphines (MAPs) are robust bifunctional ligands, which can be easily synthesized in a modular manner from a diverse array of inexpensive and common precursors. This allows us to prepare and study several closely related analogs with varying acidity, donating power, flexibility, and steric bulk. By analyzing activity, selectivity and stability trends of these analogs, we aim to construct a fundamental understanding of the structure-activity relationship in these systems that will enable the elucidation of design principles for the development of a new class of go-to ligands for future researchers.

In addition to studying the complexes themselves, we are interested in developing new catalytic methods for organic transformations, including C-H activation, C-N and C-C bond forming reactions, and C=O reduction.