Poznan, Poland – The development of silicones with new property profiles may be possible, in part because of the work of Alexander Filippou.
Filippou, a professor of inorganic chemistry at the University of Bonn in Germany, recently received the 2016 Wacker Silicone Award for his research focusing on triple bonds between transition metals and elements of the carbon group, as well as stable molecules of the elements silicon, germanium, tin and lead in their low oxidation states.
He received the award, as well as a cash prize, during the European Silicon Days event in Poznan, Poland.
The Munich-based chemical company called Filippou’s work “ground-breaking,” noting the isolation of a transition metal complex with a metal-silicon triple bond and synthesis of a stable silanone with a silicon-oxygen double bond will be important as the industry develops catalysts or silicones with novel combinations of properties.
“Through his work, basic research has been given a new impetus, which is also to the benefit of the industry,” Robert Gnann, head of Wacker Silicones business division, said in a statement.
“The chemistry developed by Professor Filippou and his team is of great importance both as regards catalysis and for an understanding of certain industrial processes. It may even be possible, one day, to develop silicones with new property profiles.”
Filippou’s achievements include the isolation of a transition metal complex with a metal-silicon triple bond and thus of a silicon analog of a transition metal alkylidene complex (2010). He also is credited with the synthesis of a stable silanone with a silicon-oxygen double bond (2014) and of a phosphasilenylidene with a silicon-phosphorus double bond (2015).
Born in Thessaloniki, Greece, in 1958, Filippou began studying chemistry at the Technical University of Munich in 1976. In 1984 he earned his doctorate with the Nobel laureate Professor Ernst Otto Fischer with a dissertation titled “New pathways of synthesis of anionic ketene and carbine complexes of 16 Group elements through neutral-substituted carbyne-carbonyl compounds.”
In 1992, Filippou obtained his habilitation on “metal-centred coupling reactions of C1 ligands.”
He served as a professor at Humbold University of Berlin for 12 years, before moving to the University of Bonn, where he has served as a lecturer and researcher since 2005. He was appointed director of the university’s Institute of Inorganic Chemistry 2007.
The Wacker Silicone Award has recognized outstanding achievements in the field of organosilicon chemistry since 1987.
Wacker’s effort to encourage and promote basic research of silicones at universities and institutes led to the establishment of the Wacker Institute of Silicone Chemistry at the Technical University of Munich in 2006. The institute serves as an interface between academic and industrial research, according to the company.
In addition to honouring research and development efforts, the Munich-based chemical company also works to promote basic research at universities and institutes. As a result of this effort, the company founded the Wacker Institute of Silicon Chemistry at the Technical University of Munich in 2006 as an link between academic and industrial research.