Bas de Bruin carries out research in the field of organometallic chemistry and catalysis. In addition to studying experimental catalysis, he investigates mechanistic information from spectroscopic studies and computerised modelling systems.
A sustainable future society calls for the development of new catalysts. In addition, there is a considerable need for the development of new, selective and efficient catalytic methods to facilitate the creation of various substances and new materials. Organometallic chemistry and homogeneous catalysis play an important role in this context, offering the possibility to develop new ‘tools’ and methodologies that can be geared to specific requirements. The development of such ‘tools’ and methodologies in homogeneous catalysis is De Bruin’s primary research objective. Those methodologies can then be used to develop entirely new catalytic reactions and to make existing catalytic reactions faster, more selective and more efficient (sustainability).
In his research, De Bruin focuses on methodologies that are inspired by the ‘toolbox’ of metallo-enzyms. This ‘bio-inspired toolbox’ contains a variety of secondary interactions and special (cooperative and redox non-innocent) ligand types that have a major impact on the structure (including the electronic structure) and reactivity of the active transition metal complexes. In addition, nature itself frequently uses radical chemistry to accomplish difficult catalytic reactions. This is particularly important for the development of a novel research area: metallo-radical catalysis. This new science offers unique opportunities in innovative catalysis research, combining radical-type reactions with more traditional organometallic chemistry. De Bruin is pioneering this research and has won several competitive research grants to promote his studies in this field.
Since 2005, De Bruin has worked as a university lecturer and senior university lecturer at the UvA. Before 2005 he worked at Radboud University Nijmegen. De Bruin received a Vidi grant from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) in 2005 and a € 1.25 million Starting Grant from the European Research Council (ERC) in 2008. Last year (2012) he received an NWO Vici grant for his ‘Radicals in Catalysis’ research project. De Bruin has published articles in many different journals, including Nature Chemistry, Chemical Society Reviews, Angewandte Chemie International Edition and Journal of the American Chemical Society.