William C. Kaska

William C. Kaska
Professor Emeritus

Office Hours

Contact Phone

(805) 893-2134

Office Location

Chem 3134


Inorganic Chemistry


Dr. Kaska received his Ph.D. at the University of Michigan in 1963. After a postdoctoral fellowship at Pennsylvania State University, he came to Santa Barbara in 1964. He retired from the university in 2004.


Research Objective

Carbon dioxide utilization in synthetic chemistry is an attractive way of using this material as a carbon source. The relative abundance in the atmosphere and ecological concern as a greenhouse gas make carbon dioxide a singular source for industrial and fine chemicals. However, carbon dioxide as the end product of combustion is relatively unreactive even though it is cheap and abundant. One way to modify the chemistry of carbon dioxide is to induce complexation to transition metals. This complexation with catalytically active metals is the basis for developing new syunthetic procedures with carbon dioxide. We are studying the chemistry of complexation of carbon dioxide with iridium compounds like 1 with respect to their thermal and photochemistry.

Saturated hydrocarbons represent the least reactive organic substrates for conversion of carbon compounds to useful materials like alcohols, acids and amines. In order to make saturated hydrocarbons more reactive the hydrogen atom must be replaced with a more reactive metal atom. This means insertion into the C-H bond. The enhanced polarity of the resultant carbon metal bond makes it possible that functionalization with other atoms like oxygen, nitrogen can readily occur. Complexes like 1 are being used to study reactions with saturated hydrocarbons.

In another project the binucleating ligands 2 are being synthesized which will juxtapose two metal atoms in order to make molecules with different oxidation states, thermochromic and photochromic molecules, for energy and optical memory storage.


Selected Research Publications

Leis, Wolfgang; Mayer, Hermann A; Kaska, William C.. Cycloheptatrienyl, alkyl and aryl PCP-pincer complexes: Ligand backbone effects and metal reactivity. Coordination Chemistry Reviews (2008), 252(15-17), 1787-1797. CODEN: CCHRAM iSSN:0010-8545. CAN 150:494916 AN 2008:730713 CAPLUS

Haenel, M.W.; Oevers, S.; Hillebrand, S; Kaska, W.C.. Polycyclic Arenes and Heteroarenes as Backbones of Diphosphine/amine Ligands for Thermostable Homogeneous Catalysts. DGMK Tagungsbericht (1999), 9903(Proceedings of the DGMK-Conference "The Future Role of Aromatics in Refining and Petrochemistry", 1999), 185-192. CODEN: DGTAF7 ISSN: 1433-9013. CAN 131-322685 AN 1999:726480 CAPLUS

Humphrey, Simon M; Mack, Hans-Georg; Redshaw, Carl; Elsegood, Mark R.J.; Young, Kenneth J.; Mayer, Hermann A.; Kaska, William C.;  Variable Solid State Aggregations in a series of (isocyanide)gold(I) Halides with the novel Trimethylamine-isocyanoborane Adduct. Dalton Transactions (2005, (3) 439-446.

Winter, Angelika M; Eichele, Klaus; Mack, Hans-Georg; Kaska, William C. Mayer, HermannA. C-H Versus Ir-X( X=H, Cl) Reactivity in a Tropylium PCP Pincer Iridium Complex.  Organometallics (2005) 24, 1837-1844.

Winter, Angelika M; Eichele, Klaus; Mack Hans-Georg; Kaska, William C.; Mayer, Hermann A. Prototropic Rearrangement in Cycloheptatrienyl PCP Pincer Iridium Complexes. Dalton Transactions (2008) 527-532.

O'Leary, Patrick; van Walree, Cornelis A,; Mehendale, Nilesh C,; Sumerel, Jan; Morse, Daniel E.; Kaska, William C.; van Koten, Gerard; Klein Gebbink Robertus J.M. Enzymatic immobilization of organometallic species: Biosilification of NCN- and PCP- pincer metal species using demosponge axial filaments. Dalton Transactions (2009), (22), 4289-4291. CODEN: DTARAF ISSN:1447-9226. CAN 151:198583 AN 2009:634234 CAPLUS