Jim D. Atwood


Jim Atwood.

Jim D. Atwood


Jim D. Atwood


SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor

Research Interests

Synthesis and spectroscopy of organometallic compounds; Kinetics and mechanisms of organometallic reactions; Homogeneous catalysis; Water as a solvent for organometallic reactions


  • Humboldt Research Fellow, 1984
  • Alfred P. Sloan Fellow, 1983-1985
  • Fellow US-USSR Program of Cooperation in Homogeneous Catalysis, 1975-1976
  • PhD, University of Illinois, 1975
  • BS, Southwest Missouri State University, 1971

Awards and Honors

  • SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor, 2013
  • Schoellkopf Award, WNY Section, ACS, 2005
  • Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, 2003
  • Sloan Fellowship, 1981-1983
  • 1 Patent

Research Summary

Our interests lie in reactivity and mechanistic studies of organometallic complexes. Current emphasis is on exploration of organometallic complexes in aqueous environments. Water-soluble phosphine ligands (TPPTS = P(m-C6H4SO3Na)3 or TPPMS = PPh2(m-C6H4SO3K)) can replace PPh3 in almost all organometallic complexes; the resulting complexes are soluble in water. These complexes offer the potential to use organometallic reagents in environmentally-friendly conditions.

One portion of our research is directed toward understanding organometallic complexes in water. Hydrogen bonding and formation of ions are much more important for organometallic complexes in water. Some geometric changes are also noted in aqueous solution in comparison to organic solutions. Although the phosphine ligands are large, in aqueous solution they show a strong tendency to be adjacent. Effect of pH provides a variable that has no analogue in organic solutions.

We are also pursuing reactions in which water is a reactant. Hydration, hydrolysis, water-gas shift reactions, etc. are important catalytic reactions that involve water as a reactant. Such reactions could be facilitated in aqueous solution.

Our research is basic in the search for understanding of organometallic complexes in water, but has direct applications in important catalytic reactions.

Selected Recent Publications

  • S. Pryadun, O. O. Gerlits and J. D. Atwood, “Structural Studies on Platinum Alkene Complexes and Precursors”, J. Coord. Chem. 2006, 59, 85.
  • S. Helfer, D. S. Phaho and J. D. Atwood, “Formation of [Pt(η3-allyl) (TPPTS)2]+ from Reaction of cis-Pt(Cl)2(TPPTS)2 and Various Alkenols in Water (TPPTS = P(m-C6H4SO3Na)3)”, Organometallics 2006, 25, 410.
  • J. Harrigan and J. D. Atwood, “Hydride Participation in Electron Transfer Processes between Metal Carbonyl Anions and Cations”, Organometallics 2004, 23, 846.
  • R.S. Pryadan and J. D. Atwood, “A Water-Soluble Ethylene Complex with Platinum: Water Stability and Reaction with Diethylamine”, Organometallics 200726, 4830.
  • J. Dudziak and J. D. Atwood, “Effect of Solvent on the Exchange of Ethylene for Propylene on cis-PtCl2(C3H6)(TPPTS), TPPTS = P(m-C6H4SO3Na)3“, J. Coord. Chem. 201164, 3575.
  • C.E. Rezsnyak, J. Autschbach, S. Moncho and J. D. Atwood, “Reactions of Gold(III) Complexes with Alkenes in jAqueous Media: Generation of bis-(beta-hydroxyalkyl)gold(III) Complexes”, J. Coord. Chem. 201366, 1153.