Professor Seyferths research during the past forty years has been
in the general area of organometallic chemistry of the main group elements
(principally Li, Mg, Zn, Hg, B, Si, Ge, Sn, Pb and P) and transition metals
(principally Co and Fe). The work has dealt with the synthesis and characterization
of organometallic compounds, their reactivity (including mechanistic studies)
and their applications, mainly in organic synthesis and materials chemistry.
Recent work has in part dealt with the development of polymeric precursors
whose pyrolysis results in useful nonoxide ceramics such as silicon carbide,
nitride, carbonitride and oxynitride, boron nitride, aluminum nitride,
as well as carbides, nitrides, silicides and borides of the early transition
Professor Seyferth has served the organometallic chemistry community as founding editor of two journals devoted to this field, first as a Regional Editor of the "Journal of Organometallic Chemistry" (1964 - 1981), subsequently as Editor-in-Chief of the American Chemical Society journal "Organometallics" (1982 - 2010).
Major research achievements are summarized below.
- Development of practical and broadly applicable routes for the synthesis
of useful functional organolithium reagents via transmetalation reactions
of heavy metal (Sn, Pb) organometallics, including vinylic and allylic
lithium reagents, Ph2P(X)-CH2Li
(X = O, S) and acyllithium reagents, RC(O)Li, which were prepared in
situ by the carbonylation of RLi at -110°C. The methodology involved
has been widely used by others in organic synthesis, especially for
CH2=CHLi and CH2=CHCH2Li.
J. Am. Chem. Soc., 83 (1961) 3583.
J. Org. Chem., 45 (1980) 2273.
Israel J. Chem., 24 (1984) 167.
J. Org. Chem., 56 (1991) 5768.
- Development of the phenyl(trihalomethyl)mercury reagents, PhHgCX3
(especially PhHgCCl2Br, PhHgCBr3,
and PhHg CF3), as dihalocarbene precursors.
Thermolysis of such reagents at 60-80°C provides a "clean"
source of CCl2 and CBr2,
so that CX2 insertion even into unactivated
paraffinic CH bonds can be effected. Broad synthetic applications
in organic and organometallic chemistry.
Acct. Chem. Res., 5 (1972) 65 (Review).
- Broad development of the organic chemistry of RCCo3(CO)9
cluster complexes including the ability of the CCo3(CO)9
cluster to stabilize an adjacent carbonium and acylium ion positively
Acct. Chem. Res., 5 (1972) 65 (Review).
- Preparation and isolation of the first silacyclopropanes and silacyclopropenes
and development of the unusual chemistry of these highly strained and
hyperreactive silacycles, including the application of hexamethylsilacyclopropane
as a practical dimethylsilylene precursor for use under mild conditions.
J. Organomet. Chem., 100 (1975) 237 (Review).
- Development of the chemistry of (µ-S2)Fe2(CO)6,
an inorganic mimic of organic disulfides and a precursor for the useful
anion (a sulfur nucleophile) and of the versatile [(µ-CO)(µ-RS)Fe2(CO)6]
anions (iron-centered nucleophiles).
Organometallics, 1 (1982) 125.
Organometallics, 8 (1989) 430.
Organometallics, 9 (1990) 2662.
Organometallics, 10 (1991) 3363.
J. Am. Chem. Soc., 114 (1992) 4594.
- Generation of useful non-oxide ceramics such as SiC, Si3N4,
silicon carbonitride and BN by pyrolysis of suitable processable polymeric
precursors. This involved synthesis of new types of organosilicon and
boron polymers with latent (reactive) functionality suitable for thermal
crosslinking, so that on pyrolysis high yields of ceramics can be obtained
and the destructive effect of evolved gases minimized. Pyrolysis mechanism
studies. Chemical modification of existing preceramic polymers.
J. Am. Ceram. Soc., 71 (1988) C-194.
J. Am. Ceram. Soc., 73 (1990) 2131.
Chapter in "Silicon-Based Polymer Science" (Advan. Chem. Ser.
224), ACS, Washington, 1990, pp 565591 (Review).
J. Inorg. Organomet. Polym., 2 (1992) 59.
J. Am. Ceram. Soc., 5 (1992) 75.
- Preparation and functionalization of carbosilane dendrimers. Functionalization
of the periphery of the dendrimers with:
(a) Group 4 metallocene substituents to obtain catalysts for a-olefin
(b) Water-solubilizing groups (SO3Na+,
to obtain synthetic micelles.
(c) Tin hydride substituents (SnBu2H)
to obtain reagents useful for organic synthesis.
Organometallics, 13 (1994) 2682.
Organometallics, 14 (1995) 5362.