Kim Baines


Contact Information

Title: Distinguished University Professor
Office: ChB Rm 310A
ChB Lab: 308/309/311
Phone (Office): ext 86302

Organic Teaching Division

Synthesis, Catalysis and Molecular Materials

Main Group Chemistry, Low Valent Main Group Compounds, Mechanistic Chemistry, Main Group Catalysis, Group 14 Based Polymers

Group Website 
Twitter: @kimbchemistry


Ph.D., University of Toronto, 1987; B.Sc., St. Mary’s University, 1982


  • RioTinto Award, Canadian Society for Chemistry (CSC)
  • F. S. Kipping Award, American Chemical Society
  • Fellow, Royal Society of Canada            
  • Distinguished University Professor, Western University                                    
  • Fellow, Royal Society of Chemistry (UK)
  • Montreal Medal, Chemical Institute of Canada
  • Humboldt Research Award, A. von Humboldt Foundation, Germany
  • DAAD Scholarship, Research Stay for University Academics and Scientists from the German Academic Exchange Service
  • University Student’s Council Teaching Honor Roll (2004, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013)
  • First Prize (with Melanie Lui), Inorganic Mixer Dance Competition, CSC           
  • Polanyi Prize, Government of Ontario
  • Clara Benson Award, CSC    
  • Fellow of the Chemical Institute of Canada
  • Florence Bucke Science Prize, Faculty of Science

Current Research Program

One of the most important advances in inorganic chemistry over the last 30 years was the discovery of stable cations and multiply bonded species (dimetallenes) of the heavier main group elements. The spectroscopic and structural characterization of these low valent species has profoundly influenced our understanding of structure, bonding and reactivity. 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 low valent main group cations to catalyze organic transformations. In addition, 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 and use other novel mechanistic tools to study  the σ-additions of ditetrelenes.

Applications: We have recently discovered that low valent cationic germanes can be used to catalyze organic transformations. We are investigating the chemistry and applications of this novel class of main group catalysts. 


  • 3370 - Organic and Inorganic Structure Elucidation
  • 4483 - Elucidation of Organic and Bioorganic Mechanisms

Selected Publications

  • Sarah L. McOnie, Gül A. Özpınar,* Jeremy L. Bourque, Thomas Müller, Kim M. Baines* “NH Bond Activation of Ammonia and Amines by Ditetrelenes: Key Insights into the Stereochemistry of Nucleophilic Addition”, Dalton Trans., 2021, 50, 17734-17750.

  • Andrew T. Henry, Taylor P. L. Cosby, Paul D. Boyle, Kim M. Baines* “Selective Dimerization of α-Methylstyrene by Tunable Bis(catecholato)germane Lewis Acid Catalysts”, Dalton Trans., 2021, 50, 15906-15913.

  • Jeremy L. Bourque, Robert A. Nanni, Mark C. Biesinger, Kim M. Baines* “Synthesis and Reactivity of Cationic Gallium(I) [12]Crown-4 Complexes” Inorg. Chem., 2021, 60, 14713-14720.

  • Nada Y. Tashkandi, Sarah L. McOnie, Jeremy L. Bourque, Crispin R. W. Reinhold, Kim M. Baines* “The Diverse Reactivity of Disilenes Toward Isocyanides”, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2019, 58, 3167-3172.

  • Martin Glavinović, Michael Krause, Linju Yang, John A. McLeod, Lijia Liu, Kim M. Baines,* Tomislav Friščić,* and Jean-Philip Lumb* “A Chlorine-Free Protocol for Processing Germanium” Science Advances, 2017, 3, e170014 (8 pages).