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Homogeneous catalysis and mechanistic studies

The transition of chemical production to processes that are environmentally benign and sustainable is a big challenge for our society and for chemical research. Homogeneous catalysis can make a substantial contribution by developing processes that convert simple substrates into valuable products without using synthetic reagents in stoichiometric amounts or large amounts of energy. The development of such processes is the prime goal of our research group.





Martin Klußmann

PD Dr. Martin Klußmann

Habilitation at the University of Cologne
since 2007
Group leader at the MPI für Kohlenforschung, associated with the group of Prof. Benjamin List and the University of Cologne
Postdoctoral research with Prof. Donna G. Blackmond at Imperial College London
PhD with Prof. Michael Reggelin at the TU Darmstadt.
Undergraduate studies at Johannes-Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena and at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA
Award of Angewandte Chemie for frequent and competent reviews in 2013
Award of Angewandte Chemie for frequent and competent reviews in 2012
Heisenberg scholarship of the DFG
Book prize of the Fonds der Chemischen Industrie
Thieme Journal Award
Global Young Faculty Member

Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung

Fonds der Chemischen Industrie

2013 to date

Lecture and seminar "Fortgeschrittene Organische Chemie" for the bachelor degree course, University of Cologne

2008 to date

Lecture, seminar and pracitcal course in organic chemistry "Kalorimetrie und Kinetik", University of Cologne

August 2015

A mechanistic study of alkenyl peroxides and their relationship with the Baeyer-Villiger oxidation appears online in Angewandte Chemie, see:

July 2015

A new publication from our group has appeared online in Synlett, a radical reaction for the synthesis of oxindoles, see here:

Julian Riegger joins our group as a bachelor student – welcome!

June 2015

Max Hasenbeck joins our group as a bachelor student – welcome!

Bertrand leaves the group and will soon start as a postdoc in Paolo Melchiorre’s group at the ICIQ in Spain. All the best!

March 2015

Dr. Hui-Lan Yue joins our group as a postdoc - welcome!

March 2015

Chem. Eur. J. has highlighted our recent mechanistic study on their Facebook site and has made it free-to-read for the next two weeks.

January 2015

A new mechanistic study appears online in Chem. Eur. J. (Chem. Eur. J., 2015): a result from the first collaboration with Dr. Martin Breugst from Cologne, who performed the calculations.

December 2014

Our first two mechanistic studies on the Cu-catalyzed oxidative coupling with N-phenyl tetrahydroisoquinolines (J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2011 und 2012) have been cited over 100 times each.

A short review on oxidative coupling reactions, our research focus, appears in the journal G.I.T. Labor-Fachzeitschrift (in German): „Chemische Synthese: Funktionalisierung von C-H-Bindungen durch oxidative Kupplung unter Verwendung von Sauerstoff“, see:

November 2014

Naeem finished his PhD at the University of Cologne with magna cum laude (very good), congratulations!

October 2014

Anda and Sophia from Greece join the group for two months, funded by the ERASMUS-programme – welcome!

September 2014

A kinetic study on the reaction mechanism of the Cu-catalyzed oxidative coupling reaction with amines (N-phenyltetrahydroisoquinoline) appears online in J. Org. Chem. (J. Org. Chem., 2014, 79 (24), pp 12033–12040).

July 2014

Bertrand and Martin present research results at the EUCHEM Conference on Organic Free Radicals in Prague (

June 2014

Bertrand finishes his PhD at the University of Cologne with grade 0,7 (magna cum laude, very good).

Our paper on the acid catalyzed oxidative addition of ketones to olefins (publicaton 33) is highlighted in SYNFACTS (Synfacts 2014, 10(7), 0758).

Research Topics

Oxidative Coupling Reactions
Oxidative Coupling Reactions

Oxidative Coupling Reactions

The activation of C-H bonds is an important goal in chemical research. The direct substitution of hydrogen in C-H bonds by a desired fragment creates interesting synthetic alternatives to the more common multi-step approach of first introducing reactive functional groups. Instead, only one step is needed and very simple substrates can be used, as C-H bonds are ubiquitous in organic compounds. Oxidative coupling reactions can achieve such transformations by utilizing an oxidant and a catalyst.

In our group, we focus on the development of such reactions under mild and sustainable conditions, i.e., preferably by using elemental oxygen or simple peroxides as oxidant.


Catalysis in organic synthesis
Catalysis in organic synthesis

Catalysis in organic synthesis

We are also developing other methods for direct and atom economic organic syntheses, for example to access starting materials for our projects or to apply strategies that were inspired by our mechanistic studies.


Mechanistic Studies
Mechanistic Studies

Mechanistic Studies

We are highly interested in investigating the mechanism of organic reactions. We study reactions developed in our own group, but also others and we are always interested in collaborations with other research groups. We use a variety of techniques, including synthetic, spectroscopic and kinetic studies (e.g., see J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2012, 134, 5317). To obtain kinetic data, we use NMR spectroscopy or reaction calorimetry. We like to evaluate the data by Donna Blackmond’s method of Reaction Progress Kinetic Analysis (e.g., see J. Org. Chem. 2014, 79, 12033). In collaboration with other scientists, we combine experimental with theoretical mechanistic studies (e.g., see Chem. Eur. J. 2015).





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