Robert Crabtree

Member of Yale faculty since 1977

The 7th edition of my The Organometallic Chemistry of the Transition Metals (Wiley) is now available.

Research Interests


Design and synthesis of inorganic, coordination and organometallic molecules with unusual structures and properties. These are typically catalytic and electrocatalytic properties for atom economic (green) transformations, bioinorganic relevance or utility in alternative energy strategies, such as solar energy, nitrogen fixation, ammonia oxidation and hydrogen storage.


B.A. New College, Oxford 1970
Ph.D. Sussex University 1973
Postdoctoral Fellow, CNRS, Gif-s-Yvette, France, 1973-75
Attaché de Recherche, Gif, 1975-77


DuPont Young Faculty Fellow, 1977
A.P. Sloan Foundation Fellow, 1981
Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar, 1982
Corday-Morgan Medal, 1984
Albright and Wilson Visiting Prof., Warwick, 1986
Editorial Board, Chemical Reviews, 1990
Organometallic Chemistry Prize of RSC, 1991
Organometallic Chemistry Prize of ACS, 1993
Mack Award, Ohio State Univ., 1994
Chair, Div. of Inorg. Chem., ACS., 1998
Dow Lecturer, Univ. of Ottowa, 1999
ISI Highly Cited Author Award, 2000
Bailar Medal, Univ. of Illinois, 2001
Ed. Board, Coor. Chem. Rev., 2002-present
Dow Lecturer, Berkeley, Williams Lecture, Oxford, 2004
Sabatier Lecture, Toulouse; Brewster Lecture, Kansas, 2006
Board of Regional Editors, Science, 2006-present 
Karcher Medal (Oklahoma), 2007
Pedersen Lecture (duPont), Lutz Lecture (U Va), 2008
John Osborn Lecturer (Strasbourg); Mond Lecture Series, Roy. Soc. Chem; Shore Lecture (Ohio State U), 2009
Kosolapoff Award (ACS and Auburn Univ), 2010
Rothchild Lecture (Rochester U), 2010
Stauffer Lecture (USC), 2010
C.P. Whitehead Professor, Yale, 2010
King Lecture (U Ga), 2011
Fellow of ACS, 2011
Fellow of IUPAC, 2011
Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, 2011
McElvain Lecture (U Wisc., Madison), 2013
Yale Postdoctoral Mentoring Award, 2013
Siedle Lecture (U Indiana), 2014
Centenary Award (Roy. Soc. Chem.), 2014
Goates Award (Wyoming), 2015
D.Sc.(Hon) Bath Univ. UK, 2016
Eisch Lecture (SUNY, Binghampton), 2016
Hillger Lecture (Wm. & Mary), 2016
Nat. Acad. Sci. (USA), 2017
Encycl. Reagents Org. Synth. Best Reagent Award, 2018
Connecticut Academy of Sciences, 2018
Fellow of the Royal Society, 2018
Franco-American Prize of the French Chemical Society, 2019-2020

Recent Publications

Crabtree, R. H. Alternate Strategies for Solar Fuels from Carbon Dioxide. ACS Energy Lett., 2020, 5, 2505-2507. DOI: 10.1021/acsenergylett.0c01359

Weber, J.; Hasanayn, F.; Fataftah, M.; Mercado, B.Q.; Crabtree, R. H.; Holland, P., Electronic and Spin-State Effects on Dinitrogen Splitting to Nitrides in a Rhenium Pincer System, Inorg. Chem. 2021, 60, 6115-6124.

Crabtree, R.H. Transfer Hydrogenation with Glycerol as H-Donor: Catalyst Activation, Deactivation and Homogeneity, ACS Sustainable Chem. Eng., 2019, 71, 15845-15853.

Lant, H. M.C.; Michaelos, T. K.; Sharninghausen, L. S.; Mercado, B. Q.; Brudvig G. W.; Crabtree R. H.,  N,N,O Pincer Ligand with a Deprotonatable Site that Promotes Redox-Leveling, High Mn Oxidation States, and a Mn2O2 Dimer Competent for Catalytic Oxygen Evolution, Eur. J. Inorg. Chem., 2019, 2115-2123.

Materna, K. L.; Jiang, J.; Crabtree, R. H.; Brudvig, G. W., Silatrane Anchors for Metal Oxide Surfaces: Optimization for Potential Photocatalytic and Electrocatalytic Applications, ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces, 2018, 11, 5602-5609. DOI: 10.1021/acsami.8b04138

Rudshteyn, B.; Fisher, K. J.; Lant, H. M. C.; Yang, K. R.; Mercado, B.Q.; Brudvig, G.W.; Crabtree, R.H.; Batista, V.S., Water-Nucleophilic Attack Mechanism for the CuII(pyalk)2 Water-Oxidation Catalyst, ACS Catal., 2018, 8, 7952-7960.

Jiang, J.; Matula, A. J.; Swierk, J. R.; Romano, N.; Wu, Y.S.; Batista, V.S.; Crabtree, R.H.; Lindsey, J.S.; Wang, H.L.; Brudvig, G.W. Unusual Stability of a Bacteriochlorin Electrocatalyst under Reductive Conditions. A Case Study on CO2 Conversion to CO, ACS Catal., 2018, 8, 10131-10136.

Peris, E.; Crabtree, R. H. Key factors in pincer ligand design, Chem. Soc. Rev., 2018, 47, 1959-1968.

Sharninghausen, L. S.; Sinha, S. B.; Shopov, D. Y.; Balcells, D.; Brudvig, G. W.; Crabtree, R. H., Synthesis and Characterization of Iridium(V) Coordination Complexes With an N,O-Donor Organic Ligand. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2017, 56, 12047-51.

Crabtree, R.H. Nitrogen-Containing Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carriers: Progress and Prospects. ACS Sustain. Chem. 2017, 5, 4491-4498.

Michaelos, T.; Shopov, D. Y.; Sinha, S. B.; Sharninghausen, L. S.; Fisher, K.; Lant, H.; Crabtree, R. H.; Brudvig, G. W. A Pyridine Alkoxide Chelate Ligand that Promotes Both Unusually High Oxidation States and Water-Oxidation Catalysis, Acc. Chem. Res., 2017, 50, 952-959.

Fisher, K. J.; Materna, K. L.; Mercado, B. Q.; Crabtree, R. H.; Brudvig, G. W. Electrocatalytic Water Oxidation by a Copper(II) Complex of an Oxidation-Resistant Ligand, ACS Catal., 2017, 7, 3384.

Sinha, S. B.; Shopov, D. Y.; Sharninghausen, L. S.; Stein, C. J.; Mercado, B. Q.; Balcells, D.; Pedersen, T. B.; Reiher, M.; Brudvig, G. W.; Crabtree, R. H. Redox Activity of Oxo-Bridged Iridium Dimers in an N,O-Donor Environment: Characterization of Remarkably Stable Ir(IV,V) Complexes. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2017, 139, 9672-83. DOI: 10.1021/jacs.7b04874.