Alex Hamilton

Dr Alex Hamilton BSc, PhD, FHEA

Senior Lecturer in Physical Chemistry


I was appointed as a lecturer in Physical Chemistry at Sheffield Hallam University after completing my MChem in Chemistry at Swansea University, a PhD in Structural Chemistry at Bristol University and postdoctoral stays in Spain (ICIQ) and New Zealand (Massey University). My teaching covers all aspects of Physical Chemistry. My research group apply state-of-the-art computational simulations to understand reaction mechanisms and design novel catalysts.


I was appointed as a lecturer in Physical Chemistry at Sheffield Hallam University after completing my MChem in Chemistry at Swansea University, a PhD in Structural Chemistry at Bristol University and postdoctoral stays in Spain (ICIQ) and New Zealand (Massey University).

My teaching covers all aspects of Physical Chemistry, from thermodynamics, phase diagrams and kinetics to statistical mechanics and group theory. My research group apply state-of-the-art computational simulations (Density Functional Theory methods) to understand catalytic reaction mechanisms and design novel catalysts. My group collaborate with a number of national and international experimental researchers working on a variety of different systems. An underlying theme to all systems that interest me is the importance of non-covalent interactions and how this underpins so much important chemistry.

Computational and Structural Chemistry



MChem & BSc Chemistry

Extended Degree in Biosciences & Chemistry


Catalyst design through database mining and computational chemistry
Organometallic homogeneous catalysis is the workhorse of fine chemical synthesis. The shear variety and high level of tunability means these catalytic complexes have found application in pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals manufacture and beyond. Even with all the interest in organometallic complexes, the holy grail of 'designer catalysts' is still some way off. Hemi-labile ligands are particularly interesting as, due to their inherent flexibility, they have the ability to control the number of coordination sites around the metal centre. Understanding and manipulating this flexibility can lead to new reaction pathways and novel products.

Elucidation of catalytic reactions mechanisms
In collaboration with a number of external research groups we have an interest in solving the complex mechanisms involved in catalysis, both organo- and transition metal orientated. Reactions of interest are, but not limited to, C-H activation, hydrogenation and hydrocyanation.

Non-covalent interactions in supramolecular chemistry
Supramolecular chemistry finds application in wide and diverse areas of chemistry, biology, materials and environmental science. The understanding of the non-covalent interactions which govern the structure and activity of the supramolecular species is key to optimising their application. We have particular interest in systems applied to catalysis and chemical sensing.


Dr. Andy Chapman, Kingston University, UK
Dr. Louis Adiaenssens, University of Lincoln, UK
Prof Mark Waterland, Massey University, NZ
Prof Gareth Rowlands, Massey University, NZ
Prof Carles Bo, ICIQ, ES


Journal articles

Cabrera, D.J., Álvarez-Miguel, L., Rodríguez, A.H., Hamilton, A., Mosquera, M.E.G., & Whiteoak, C.J. (2024). Exploitation of Mechanistic Product Selectivity for the Two‐step Synthesis of Optically Active Bio‐derived Cyclic Carbonates Incorporating Amino Acids. European Journal of Organic Chemistry.

Siangwata, S., Hamilton, A., Tizzard, G.J., Coles, S.J., & Owen, G.R. (2024). Room Temperature Hydrogenation of CO2 Utilizing a Cooperative Phosphorus Pyridone‐Based Iridium Complex. ChemCatChem.

Hermenean, A., Dossi, E., Hamilton, A., Trotta, M.C., Russo, M., Lepre, C.C., ... Fenyvesi, F. (2024). Chrysin Directing an Enhanced Solubility through the Formation of a Supramolecular Cyclodextrin–Calixarene Drug Delivery System: A Potential Strategy in Antifibrotic Diabetes Therapeutics. Pharmaceuticals, 17 (1).

Billacura, M., Lewis, R., Bricklebank, N., Hamilton, A., & Whiteoak, C. (2023). Ga‐catalyzed temperature‐dependent oxazolidinone/piperazine synthesis from phenyl aziridines involving a divergent ligand‐assisted mechanism. Advanced Synthesis & Catalysis.

Cabrera, D.J., Lewis, R., Díez-Poza, C., Álvarez-Miguel, L., Mosquera, M.E.G., Hamilton, A., & Whiteoak, C.J. (2023). Group 13 salphen compounds (In, Ga and Al): a comparison of their structural features and activities as catalysts for cyclic carbonate synthesis †. Dalton Transactions.

Álvarez‐Miguel, L., Burgoa, J.D., Mosquera, M.E.G., Hamilton, A., & Whiteoak, C.J. (2021). Catalytic Formation of Cyclic Carbonates using Gallium Aminotrisphenolate Compounds and Comparison to their Aluminium Congeners: A Combined Experimental and Computational Study. ChemCatChem, 13.

Hamilton, A., Wotton, T., Porter, J., Grewal, K., Chirila, P., Forbes, S., ... Whiteoak, C. (2020). Merging Cu-catalysed C-H functionalisation and intramolecular annulations: computational and experimental studies on an expedient construction of complex fused heterocycles. Organic Chemistry Frontiers.

Chu, M., Planas, O., Company, A., Ribas, X., Hamilton, A., & Whiteoak, C. (2019). Unravelling the mechanism of cobalt-catalysed remote C-H nitration of 8-aminoquinolinamides and expansion of substrate scope towards 1-naphthylpicolinamide. Chemical Science.

Kenny, A., Pisarello, A., Bird, A., Chirila, P.G., Hamilton, A., & Whiteoak, C. (2018). A challenging redox neutral Cp*Co(III)-catalysed alkylation of acetanilides with 3-buten-2-one: synthesis and key insights into the mechanism through DFT calculations. Beilstein journal of organic chemistry, 14, 2366-2374.

Chirila, P., Skibinski, L., Miller, K., Hamilton, A., & Whiteoak, C. (2018). Towards a Sequential One-Pot Preparation of 1,2,3-Benzotriazin-4(3H)-ones Employing a Key Cp*Co(III)-catalyzed C-H Amidation Step. Advanced Synthesis & Catalysis, 360 (12), 2324-2332.

Chirila, P.G., Adams, J., Dirjal, A., Hamilton, A., & Whiteoak, C. (2018). Cp*Co(III)-Catalyzed coupling of benzamides with α,β-unsaturated carbonyl compounds: Preparation of aliphatic ketones and azepinones. Chemistry : A European Journal, 24 (14), 3584-3589.

Lister, J.M., Carreira, M., Haddow, M.F., Hamilton, A., McMullin, C.L., Orpen, A.G., ... Stennett, T.E. (2014). Unexpectedly high barriers to M–P rotation in tertiary phobane complexes : PhobPR behavior that is commensurate with tBu2PR. Organometallics, 33 (3), 702-714.

Tsoureas, N., Hamilton, A., Haddow, M.F., Harvey, J.N., Orpen, A.G., & Owen, G.R. (2013). Insight into the hydrogen migration processes involved in the formation of metal–borane complexes : importance of the third arm of the scorpionate ligand. Organometallics, 32 (9), 2840-2856.

Hamilton, A., Gicquel, M., Ballester, P., & Bo, C. (2013). Mechanisms of catalysis in confined spaces: hydrogenation of norbornadiene with a rhodium complex included in a self-folding cavitand. Current Organic Chemistry, 17 (14), 1499-1506.

Owen, G.R., Gould, P.H., Moore, A., Dyson, G., Haddow, M.F., & Hamilton, A. (2013). Copper and silver complexes bearing flexible hybrid scorpionate ligand mpBm. Dalton Transactions, 42 (31), 11074-11081.

Moran, A., Hamilton, A., Bo, C., & Melchiorre, P. (2013). A mechanistic rationale for the 9-amino(9-deoxy)epi cinchona alkaloids catalyzed asymmetric reactions via iminium ion activation of enones. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 135 (24), 9091-9098.

Pintre, I.C., Pierrefixe, S., Hamilton, A., Valderrey, V., Bo, C., & Ballester, P. (2012). Influence of the solvent and metal center on supramolecular chirality induction with bisporphyrin tweezer receptors. Strong metal modulation of effective molarity values. Inorganic chemistry, 51 (8), 4620-4635.

Tsoureas, N., Nunn, J., Bevis, T., Haddow, M.F., Hamilton, A., & Owen, G.R. (2011). Strong agostic-type interactions in ruthenium benzylidene complexes containing 7-azaindole based scorpionate ligands. Dalton Transactions, 40 (4), 951-958.

Dyson, G., Zech, A., Rawe, B.W., Haddow, M.F., Hamilton, A., & Owen, G.R. (2011). Scorpionate ligands based on 2-Mercaptopyridine : a ligand with a greater propensity to sting? Organometallics, 30 (21), 5844-5850.

Owen, G.R., Gould, P.H., Hamilton, A., & Tsoureas, N. (2010). Unexpected pincer-type coordination (κ3-SBS) within a zerovalent platinum metallaboratrane complex. Dalton Transactions, 39 (1), 49-52.

Owen, G.R., Hugh Gould, P., Charmant, J.P.H., Hamilton, A., & Saithong, S. (2010). A new hybrid scorpionate ligand : a study of the metal–boron bond within metallaboratrane complexes. Dalton Transactions, 39 (2), 392-400.

Fanjul, T., Eastham, G., Fey, N., Hamilton, A., Orpen, A.G., Pringle, P.G., & Waugh, M. (2010). Palladium complexes of the Heterodiphosphineo-C6H4(CH2PtBu2)(CH2PPh2) are highly selective and robust catalysts for the Hydromethoxycarbonylation of Ethene. Organometallics, 29 (10), 2292-2305.

López-Gómez, M.J., Connelly, N.G., Haddow, M.F., Hamilton, A., & Orpen, A.G. (2010). Fluxional rhodium scorpionate complexes of the hydrotris(methimazolyl)borate (Tm) ligand and their static boratrane derivatives. Dalton Transactions, 39 (22), 5221-5230.

Tsoureas, N., Haddow, M.F., Hamilton, A., & Owen, G.R. (2009). A new family of metallaboratrane complexes based on 7-azaindole: B–H activation mediated by carbon monoxide. Chemical Communications, (18), 2538-2540.

Dyson, G., Hamilton, A., Mitchell, B., & Owen, G.R. (2009). A new family of flexible scorpionate ligands based on 2-mercaptopyridine. Dalton Transactions, (31), 6120.

Tsoureas, N., Bevis, T., Butts, C.P., Hamilton, A., & Owen, G.R. (2009). Further exploring the “Sting of the Scorpion” : hydride migration and subsequent rearrangement of Norbornadiene to Nortricyclyl on Rhodium(I). Organometallics, 28 (17), 5222-5232.

Blagg, R.J., Adams, C.J., Charmant, J.P.H., Connelly, N.G., Haddow, M.F., Hamilton, A., ... Ridgway, B.M. (2009). A novel route to rhodaboratranes [Rh(CO)(PR3){B(taz)3}]+via the redox activation of scorpionate complexes [RhLL′Tt]. Dalton Transactions, (40), 8724.

Carreira, M., Charernsuk, M., Eberhard, M., Fey, N., van Ginkel, R., Hamilton, A., ... Pringle, P.G. (2009). Anatomy of phobanes. diastereoselective synthesis of the three isomers of n-butylphobane and a comparison of their donor properties. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 131 (8), 3078-3092.

Rudolf, G.C., Hamilton, A., Orpen, A.G., & Owen, G.R. (2009). A 'sting' on Grubbs' catalyst : an insight into hydride migration between boron and a transition metal. Chemical Communications, (5), 553-555.

Tsoureas, N., Owen, G.R., Hamilton, A., & Orpen, A.G. (2008). Flexible scorpionates for transfer hydrogenation : the first example of their catalytic application. Dalton Transactions, (43), 6039-6044.

Jones, T.W., Forrester, J.S., Hamilton, A., Rose, M.G., & Donne, S.W. (2007). Discharge rate capabilities of alkaline AgCuO2 electrode. Journal of Power Sources, 172 (2), 962-969.

Book chapters

Hamilton, A., & Whiteoak, C.J. (2020). Applied organometallics: Cp*Co(iii)-catalysed C–H functionalisation as a maturing tool for the synthesis of heterocyclic compounds. In Organometallic Chemistry. (pp. 186-228). Royal Society of Chemistry:

Theses / Dissertations

Slater, J.E. (2024). Design and Synthesis of Potential Novel Antibiotic Compounds Utilising Photoredox Catalysis. (Doctoral thesis). Supervised by Allwood, D., Hamilton, A., & Miller, K.

Chirila, P.G. (2021). Synthesis of valuable compounds through a cobalt-catalysed C-H functionalisation approach. (Doctoral thesis). Supervised by Whiteoak, C., Hamilton, A., & Miller, K.

Lane, P.E. (2021). A Mechanism Based Probe for Visualising ChromatinmodifyingEnzyme Lysine-Specific Histone Demethylase 1. (Doctoral thesis). Supervised by Turega, S., Hamilton, A., & Dalton, C.

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