Sabuj Kumar Kundu

PhD (Rutgers University)

Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry


Research Interest



  • PhD (2009), Rutgers University, USA.
  • M. Sc. (2004) IIT Bombay.

    Thesis Title: Reactions of (PCP)Ir Complexes with Small Molecules

    Thesis Supervisor:Prof. Alan S. Goldman



There has been growing interest in synthesis and catalytic activity studies of water soluble transition metal complexes in past two decades. Water as a solvent has many potential advantages over organic solvents such as it is environmentally friendly, cheap, and easy to separate from organic products. We are interested to investigate synthesis and catalytic activities of new water soluble transition metal complexes in many catalytic transformation such as reduction of carbon dioxide to formate/formic acid, hydrogenation of ketone, aldehyde and alkene etc. CO2 hydrogenation to formic acid is not energetically favourable although it is an exothermic reaction due to unfavourable entropy conditions. Water as a solvent will play an important role in this transformation, as it will strongly influence the entropy difference by solvation of both reactants and products. Concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere dramatically increased in past few decades due to industrial revolution and growing demand for energy. There has been a great deal of interest to address this issue by utilization of CO2 as feedstock in recent years due to its non-toxicity, high abundance, and attractive potential for renewable source. However, trans-formation of CO2 is challenging due to its high thermodynamic and kinetic stability. We are interested in many different approaches in transformation of CO2 to useful chemicals. C-H bond activation and functionalization, catalyzed by transition metal complexes received a great deal of interest in past two decades. Selective transformation of readily available organic compounds to useful organic substrates by functionalization of inert C-H bond has tremendous potential value for synthesis of fine chemicals. Big questions in sp3 C–H bond activation field still remain to be solved are: 1. Is it limited to few expensive transition metal complexes (e.g. Ir, Rh, Pt etc.)? 2. How to selectively functionalize sp3 C–H bond to C-O, C-C, C-N, C-X (X= halogen)? 3. How to improve stability, catalytic activity and functional group tolerance (e.g. –CN, -NO­2, -CO2R etc.) of the catalysts? To answer these questions we are interested in developing new synthetic strategies/methodologies for C-H bond activation and functionalization using Ru, Os, Co and Fe catalysts. Selective and efficient transformation of biomass feedstock to sustainable chemicals and fuels is one of the major focuses in renewable energy to reduce dependence on petroleum based resources. Our research will focus on synthesis of water soluble, thermally robust metal complexes and extensive studies of these complexes for application in biomass and biomass related conversion by hydrogenolysis and deoxygenation.

  • Cleavage of Ether, Ester and Tosylate C(sp3)-O Bonds by an Iridium Complex, Initiated by Oxidative Addition of C-H bond. Experimental and Computational Studies, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 135, 5127 (2013).

  • Mechanism of Hydrogenolysis of an Iridium-methyl Bond: Evidence for a Methane Complex Intermediate, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 135, 1217 (2013).

  • Synthesis of Piperylene and Toluene via Transfer Dehydrogenation of Pentane and Pentene, ACS Catal., 3, 1768 (2013).

  • Alkane Metathesis by Tandem Alkane-Dehydrogenation-Olefin-Metathesis Catalysis and Related Chemistry, Acc. Chem. Res., 45, 947 (2012).

  • Carbon-Oxygen Bond Activation in Esters by Platinum (0): Cleavage of the Less Reactive, Bond. Organometallics, 31, 5018 (2012).

  • Net Oxidative Addition of C(sp3)-F Bonds to Iridium via Initial C-H Bond Activation, Science, 332, 1545 (2011).

  • Synthesis and Reactivity of New Ni, Pd and Pt PONOP Pincer Complexes, Inorg. Chem., 50, 9443 (2011).

  • C–S Bond Activation of Thioesters Using Pt (0), Organometallics, 30, 5147 (2011).

  • Highly Active and Recyclable Heterogeneous Iridium Pincer Catalysts for Transfer Dehydrogenation of Alkanes, Adv. Synth. Catal., 351, 188 (2009).

  • Assistant Professor, IIT Kanpur, 2013-.

  • The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Postdoctoral Fellow, 2011-2013

  • University of Rochester, Postdoctoral Fellow, 2009-2011


  • DST INSPIRE Faculty, 2013



FB 404,
Department of Chemistry
IIT Kanpur,
Kanpur 208016

Office Phone: 0512-259-7425 (O)

Email: sabuj[AT]

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