Trevor Hayton


Office Hours

Tuesday, 4pm-5pm
By Appointment

Contact Phone

(805) 893-3392

Office Location

Chem 3225



Dr. Hayton started his graduate studies in 1998 under the direction of Peter Legzdins at the University of British Columbia. After completing his Ph. D. in 2003 he began a postdoctoral position at Los Alamos National Laboratory with James Boncella. He joined the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at UCSB in 2006. In 2010 he was awarded a Sloan Fellowship.


Research Group Website:

Research Objective

Overview. Our research involves the synthesis and characterization of new inorganic and organometallic complexes and materials. One goal of this work is to improve our understanding of the structure and bonding in both transition metal and actinide systems. But we are also trying to discover new organic transformations mediated by metal centers.

Bioinorganic chemistry. Part of our research program focuses on the fundamental coordination chemistry of high oxidation state transition metal ions, in particular iron(IV) and manganese(IV). Interest in these ions is driven by their intermediacy in several biorelevant transformations. However, the fundamental coordination chemistry of these ions remains relatively unexplored, in part because their highly oxidizing nature greatly complicates their study. To address this problem we have endeavored to find other ligand sets which can better stabilize the 4+ state, and we are exploring the use of alkoxide, amide, alkyl and ketimide ligands for this purpose. Building on this work, we are exploring the reactivity of these unusual molecules, with the goal of finding transformations of practical significance.

Actinide organometallics. We are also exploring the organometallic chemistry of uranium and the other actinides. Knowledge gained in this area will help improve the nuclear fuel cycle and the treatment of nuclear waste, both areas of national concern. In particular, we are exploring methods of functionalizing the oxo ligand of the uranyl ion (UO22+), a moiety known for its incredible stability. Chemically modifying UO22+ is relevant to the treatment of nuclear waste and understanding the interactions of bacteria with the actinides. It also represents an opportunity to uncover novel metal-oxo reactivity with potential applications in catalysis. Building on our initial results in this area, we are developing model complexes to mimic microbial-actinide interactions which will provide insight into the biogeochemistry of the actinides and the global actinide cycle. By studying the structure and properties of these complexes we hope to suggest new methods for decontamination and waste treatment.

Transition Metal Nitrosyls. Another area of interest is the synthesis and characterization of transition metal nitrosyl cations, a relatively rare class of compounds. By studying these complexes we hope to enhance our understanding of the interaction between metal ions and the biologically important nitric oxide (NO) molecule. In addition, we are also investigating the ability of these molecules to catalyze the addition of NO to a variety of nucleophiles, including arenes, a potentially useful transformation that is difficult to achieve using current methodologies.


Selected Research Publications

Brown, J. L.; Wu, G.; Hayton, T. W. Chalcogen Atom Transfer to Uranium(III): Synthesis and Characterization of [(R2N)3U]2(?-E) and [(R2N)3U]2(?-?2:?2-S2) (R = SiMe3; E = S, Se, Te). Organometallics 2013, Articles ASAP

Seaman, L. A; Walensky, J. R..; Wu, G.; Hayton, T. W. In Pursuit of Homoleptic Actinide Alkyl Complexes. Inorg. Chem. 2013, ASAP Article.

Scepaniak, J. J.; Wright, A. M.; Lewis, R. A.; Wu, G.; Hayton, T. W. Tuning the reactivity of TEMPO by coordination to a Lewis acid: Isolation and reactivity of MCl3(TEMPO) (M = Fe, Al). J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2012, 134, 19350–19353.

Lewis, R. A.; Morochnik, S.; Chapovetsky, A.; Wu, G.; Hayton, T. W. Synthesis and Characterization of [M2(N=CtBu2)5]− (M=Mn, Fe, Co): Metal Ketimide Complexes with Strong Metal–Metal Interactions. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed . 2012, 51, 12944-12947.

Brown, J. L.; Fortier, S.; Lewis, R. A.; Wu, G.; Hayton, T. W. A complete family of terminal uranium chalcogenides, [U(E)(N{SiMe3}2)3]- (E = O, S, Se, Te). J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2012, 134, 15468-15475.

Wright, A. M.; Wu, G.; Hayton, T. W. Formation of N2O from a Nickel Nitrosyl: Isolation of the cis-[N2O2]2- Intermediate. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2012, 134, 9930–9933.

Seaman, L. A.; Wu, G.; Edelstein, N.; Lukens, W. W.; Magnani, N.; Hayton, T. W. Probing the 5f Orbital Contribution to the Bonding in a U(V) Ketimide Complex. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2012, 134, 4931–4940.