Kim Baines

Kim M. Baines

Contact Information

Title: Distinguished University Professor
Office: Rm 310A ChB,
Phone (Office): ext 86302

Organic Teaching Division

Synthesis, Catalysis and Molecular Materials

Synthesis and Reactivity of Low Valent Main Group Compounds

Group Website


B.Sc., St. Mary's, Ph.D., Toronto


  • F.S. Kipping Award in Silicon Chemistry from the American Chemical Society
  • DAAD Scholarship, Germany Academic Exchange Service
  • Polanyi Prize
  • Clara Benson Award
  • Canadian National Congress-International Union Pure and Applied Chemistry (CNC-IUPAC) Award
  • President's Occupational Health and Safety Award
  • Fellow of the Chemical Institute of Canada
  • Florence Bucke Award
  • USC Honor Roll (2009, 2010, 2012, 2013)
  • Montreal Medal, Chemical Institute of Canada
  • Humboldt Research Award, A. von Humboldt Foundation


One of the most important advances in inorganic chemistry over the last 30 years was the discovery of stable cations and multiply bonded species of the heavier main group elements. The spectroscopic and structural characterization of these unsaturated species has profoundly influenced our understanding of structure, bonding and reactivity. Multiply bonded compounds of the heavier main group elements have also proven to be powerful building blocks in organometallic/inorganic synthesis just as alkenes and alkynes are in organic synthesis. An impressive array of previously inaccessible compounds, particularly ring systems, has been made from metallenes (M=C), dimetallenes (M=M) and dimetallynes (M≡M). Even more exciting are the innovative applications of this chemistry that are now being explored including the exploitation of the highly regiospecific cycloaddition reactions of silenes (R2Si=CR2) in organic synthesis, the addition polymerization of silenes, germenes (R2Ge=CR2) and phosphaalkenes (RP=CR2) to give novel inorganic materials, and the utilization of silyl cations to catalyze the hydrodefluorination of fluoroalkanes, the degradation of polyethers, or the polymerization of (Cl2PN)3. Lastly, the organic functionalization of semiconductor surfaces is of great interest for many technological applications, for example in the area of biosensors. However, the determination of the exact structure of surface adducts, which will be used to link more complex molecules, is difficult using current surface analytical techniques. The reactivity of dimetallenes (R2M=MR2, M=Si, Ge) has been shown to parallel that of the Si (or Ge) dimers on the Si (or Ge) (100) 2x1 surface, and thus, can aid in the understanding of surface chemistry to facilitate the attachment of complex molecules and the subsequent development of new devices.

Our research program explores this exciting area of chemistry with a focus on Group 14 compounds in the following three general areas:

  • Synthesis and Reactivity: We challenge our synthetic acumen by exploring the synthesis and reactivity of unprecedented heavier main group compounds with new bonding paradigms, particularly unsaturated heavy Group 14 derivatives.

  • Mechanism: As is well-recognized in carbon chemistry, to achieve the full potential of unsaturated heavier main group compounds, it is critical to have a firm grasp of their reaction mechanisms. We have developed innovative mechanistic probes for the study of the cycloaddition reactions of these compounds.

  • Applications: We have recently discovered a new approach to polysilenes and polygermenes, polymers with an alternating silicon (or germanium) carbon backbone. We investigate the chemistry and applications of this novel class of organometallic polymers.


  • 3320 - Polymer Chemistry
  • 3330 - Industrial Chemistry
  • 3370 - Organic and Inorganic Structure Elucidation
  • 9503 - Advanced NMR Spectroscopy I

Selected Publications