Associate Professor Department of Chemistry   Research Group

Liu Leo Liu (LLL) received his B.Sc. degree in chemistry (2011) at Xiamen University and Ph.D. degree in organic chemistry (2016) from a joint program under the supervision of Prof. Yufen Zhao at Xiamen University (2011-2013, 2015-2016) and Prof. Guy Bertrand at the University of California, San Diego (2013-2015). He also worked on computational chemistry with Prof. Jun Zhu. He was awarded the National Scholarship for outstanding Ph.D. students (2014). He was a post-doctoral fellow in Prof. Douglas W. Stephan's group at the University of Toronto (2016-2019). After a short post-doctoral study in a joint group of Profs. F. Dean Toste, Kenneth N. Raymond and Robert G. Bergman in Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory & the University of California, Berkeley (2019-2020), he has been a PI (tenure-track) at Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) since September 2020. He serves as a Member of Next Generation Advisory Board of Chem (from Feb 2020) and Early Career Advisory Board of both the European Journal of Inorganic Chemistry (EurJIC) (from Jan 2022) and Chinese Chemical Letters (from Jan 2022).

Personal Profile


Main Group Chemistry


General Chemistry

Element-Organic Chemistry

Publications Read More

For full publications, please see:

Representative publications:

At SUSTech:

9) C. Hu;+ X.-F. Wang;+ R. Wei; C. Hu; D. A. Ruiz; X.-Y. Chang; L. L. Liu,* Crystalline Monometal-Substituted Free CarbenesChem 2022, in press. (+ = equal contribution)

8)  R. Wei; S. Ju and L. L. Liu,* Free Metallophosphines: Extremely Electron-Rich Phosphorus Superbases that are Electronically and Sterically TunableAngew. Chem. Int. Ed.  2022, 61, e202205618. (Hot Paper) (Highlighted by ChemistryViews)

7) X. Zhang and L. L. Liu,* Modulating the Frontier Orbitals of an Aluminylene for Facile Dearomatization of Inert ArenesAngew. Chem. Int. Ed. 202261, e202116658. (Very Important Paper)

6) 73) Y. Mei; Z. Yan and L. L. Liu,* Facile Synthesis of the Dicyanophosphide Anion via Electrochemical Activation of White Phosphorus: An Avenue to Organophosphorus CompoundsJ. Am. Chem. Soc. 2022144, 1517–1522.

5) X. Zhang and L. L. Liu,* A Free Aluminylene with Diverse σ-Donating and Doubly σ/π-Accepting Ligand Features for Transition MetalsAngew. Chem. Int. Ed. 202160, 27062–27069. (Hot Paper)

4) S. Qiu; X. Zhang; C. Hu; H. Chu; Q. Li; D. A. Ruiz; L. L. Liu;* C.-H. Tung and L. Kong,* Unveiling Hetero-Enyne Reactivity of Aryliminoboranes: Dearomative Hetero-Diels-Alder-Like ReactionsAngew. Chem. Int. Ed. 202261, e202205814.

3) Y. Wang; X. Zhang; T. Li; Q. Li; R. Wei; D. A. Ruiz; L. L. Liu;* C.-H. Tung and L. Kong,* Crystalline Neutral Diboron Analogues of CyclopropanesAngew. Chem. Int. Ed. 202261, e202117053.

2) S. Li; C. Hu; X. Cui; J. Zhang; L. L. Liu* and L. Wu,* Site-Fixed Hydroboration of Terminal and Internal Alkenes Using BX3/iPr2NEtAngew. Chem. Int. Ed. 202160, 26238–26245.

1) R. Guo; T. Li; R. Wei; X. Zhang; Q. Li; L. L. Liu;* C. Tung and L. Kong,* Boraiminolithium: An Iminoborane-Transfer ReagentJ. Am. Chem. Soc. 2021143, 13483–13488. (Highlighted by ChemistryViews)

Before SUSTech:

1) L. Liu; D. A. Ruiz; D. Munz and G. Bertrand,* A Singlet Phosphinidene Stable at Room Temperature, Chem 20161, 147–153. (Highlighted by Chem. Eng. News entitled “Stable phosphorus carbene analog debuts”; Previewed by Rory Waterman entitled “A ‘Bottle-able’ Phosphinidene” in Chem)

2) L. L. Liu; L. L. Cao; Y. Shao; G. Ménard and D. W. Stephan,* A Radical Mechanism for Frustrated Lewis Pair Reactivity, Chem 20173, 259–267. (Highlighted by front cover; Previewed by Duncan F. Wass entitled “How Important Are Radical Mechanisms in Frustrated Lewis Pair Chemistry?” in Chem)

3) L. L. Liu; L. L. Cao; Y. Shao and D. W. Stephan,* Single Electron Delivery to Lewis Pairs: An Avenue to Anions by Small Molecule Activation, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2017139, 10062–10071.

4) L. L. Liu; J. Zhou; L. L. Cao; R. Andrews; R. L. Falconer; C. A. Russell and D. W. Stephan,* A Transient Vinylphosphinidene via a Phosphirene−Phosphinidene Rearrangement, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2018140, 147–150.

5) L. L. Liu; J. Zhou; R. Andrews and D. W. Stephan,* A Room-Temperature-Stable Phosphanorcaradiene, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2018140, 7466–7470.

6) L. L. Liu; J. Zhou; L. L. Cao; Y. Kim and D. W. Stephan,* Reversible Intramolecular Cycloaddition of Phosphaalkene to an Arene Ring, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2019141, 8083–8087.

7) L. L. Liu; J. Zhou; L. L. Cao and D. W. Stephan,* Phosphaaluminirenes: Synthons for Main Group Heterocycles, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2019141, 16971–16982. (Highlighted by ChemistryViews entitled “Phosphaaluminirenes Synthesized”)

8) L. L. Liu; L. L. Cao; J. Zhou and D. W. Stephan,* Facile Cleavage of the P=P Double Bond in Vinyl-Substituted Diphosphenes, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2019, 58, 273–277.

9) J. Tang;+ L. L. Liu;+ S. Yang;+ X. Cong; M. Luo and X. Zeng,* Chemoselective Cross-Coupling between Two Different and Unactivated C(aryl)–O Bonds Enabled by Chromium Catalysis, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2020142, 7715–7720. (+ = equal contribution)

10) X. Chen;+ L. L. Liu;+ S. Liu; H. Grützmacher and Z. Li,* A Room-Temperature Stable Distonic Radical Cation, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 202059, 23830-23835. (+ = equal contribution)

11) L. L. Liu; D. A. Ruiz; F. Dahcheh; G. Bertrand;* R. Suter; A. M. Tondreau and H. Grützmacher,* Isolation of Au-, Co-η1 PCO and Cu-η2 PCO Complexes, Conversion of an Ir-η1 PCO Complex into a Dimetalladiphosphene, and an Interaction-free PCO Anion, Chem. Sci. 20167, 2335–2341.

12) L. L. Liu,* The Dynamic Nature of Phosphorus, Chem 20173, 195–197. (Invited “Potential Energy” article)

13) L. L. Liu and D. W. Stephan,* Radicals Derived from Lewis Acid/Base Pairs, Chem. Soc. Rev. 201948, 3454–3463.

14) L. L. Liu; J. Zhu* and Y. Zhao,* The Phosphaethynolate Anion Reacts with Unsaturated Bonds: DFT Investigations on [2+2], [3+2] and [4+2] Cycloadditions, Chem. Comm. 201450, 11347–11349.

15) L. L. Liu; D. A. Ruiz; F. Dahcheh and G. Bertrand,* Isolation of a Lewis Base Stabilized Parent Phosphenium (PH2+) and Related Species, Chem. Comm. 201551, 12732–12735.

16) L. L. Liu and D. W. Stephan,* An Imine-Gallium Lewis Pair Stabilized Oxophosphinidene via an Unexpected Phosphirene Rearrangement, Chem. Comm. 201854, 1041–1044. (Highlighted by front cover)

17) L. L. Liu; L. L. Cao; D. Zhu; J. Zhou and D. W. Stephan,* Homolytic Cleavage of Peroxide Bonds via a Single Electron Transfer of Frustrated Lewis Pair, Chem. Comm. 201854, 7431–7434. (Highlighted by front cover)

18) Y. Wu;* C. Shan; Y. Sun; P. Chen; J. Ying; J. Zhu; L. L. Liu* and Y. Zhao,* Main Group Metal Ligand Cooperation of N-Heterocyclic Germylene: An Efficient Catalyst for the Hydroboration of Carbonyl Compounds, Chem. Comm. 201652, 13799–13802.

19) Y. Wu; L. L. Liu;* J. Su; J. Zhu; Z. Ji and Y. Zhao,* Isolation of a Heavier Cyclobutadiene Analogue: 2,4-Digerma-1,3-diphosphacyclobutadiene, Organometallics, 201635, 1593–1596.

20) J. Zhou; L. L. Liu; L. L. Cao and D. W. Stephan,* The η5-Pentamethylcyclopentadienyl Phosphorus Dication [(η5-Cp*)P]2+: A Phosphorus Lewis Super Acid, Chem 20184, 2699–2708. (Highlighted by Chemistryworld entitled “Rare phosphorus dication synthesised”)

21) Z. Li;* X. Chen; L. L. Liu; M. T. Scharnhölz and H. Grützmacher,* N-Heterocyclic Carbene Stabilized Dicarbondiphosphide: A Strong Neutral Four-membered Heterocyclic 6π-electron Donor, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 202059, 4288–4293.

22) J. Zhou; L. L. Liu; L. L. Cao and D. W. Stephan,* Base-Stabilized [PO]+/[PO2]+ Cations, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 201958, 18276–18280.

23) J. Zhou; L. L. Liu; L. L. Cao and D. W. Stephan,* The Arene-Stabilized η5-Pentamethylcyclopentadienyl Arsenic Dication [(η5-Cp*)As(toluene)]2+, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 201958, 5407–5412.

24) J. Zhou; L. L. Liu; L. L. Cao and D. W. Stephan,* Nitrogen-Based Lewis Acids: Synthesis and Reactivity of a Cyclic (Alkyl)(Amino)Nitrenium Cation, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 201857, 3322–3326.

25) C. Pranckevicius; L. L. Liu; G. Bertrand and D. W. Stephan,* Synthesis of a Carbodicyclopropenylidene: A Carbodicarbene Based Solely on Carbon, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 201655, 5536–5540.

26) Z. Li; X. Chen; Z. Benkő; L. L. Liu; D. Ruiz; J. Peltier; G. Bertrand;* C. Su* and H. Grützmacher,* N-Heterocyclic Carbenes as Promotors for the Rearrangement of Phosphaketenes to Phosphaheteroallenes: A Case Study for OCP to OPC Constitutional Isomerism, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 201655, 6018–6022.

27) B. Rao; H. Tang; X. Zeng*; L. L. Liu; M. Melaimi and G. Bertrand,* Cyclic (Amino)(aryl)carbenes (CAArCs) as Strong σ-Donating and π-Accepting Ligands for Transition Metals, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 201554, 14915–14919.

28) C. Weinstein; C. Martin; L. L. Liu and G. Bertrand,* Cross-Coupling Reactions between Stable Carbenes, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 201453, 6550–6553.

29) M. M. Hansmann; D. A. Ruiz; L. L. Liu; R. Jazzar and G. Bertrand,* (Phosphanyl)phosphaketenes as Building Blocks for Novel Phosphorus Heterocycles, Chem. Sci. 2017, 8, 3720-3725.

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