The University of Texas at Arlington

Rasika Dias

Rasika  Dias

Distinguished University Professor

Office: CRB 305, Email:, Phone: 817-272-3813, FAX: 817-272-3808

Research ProfileCourses

Our research efforts cover several important areas such as (i) homogeneous catalysis, (ii) the chemistry of small gaseous molecules including ethylene and carbon monoxide, (iii) luminescent materials, (iv) reactive intermediates, (v) disinfectants and preservatives, and (vi) the study of metal-metal and metal-ligand bonding. Highly fluorinated ligands and anions are used widely to achieve our goals. We employ a variety of modern synthetic and analytical techniques including Schlenk and glove box methods, IR-Raman spectroscopy, multinuclear NMR spectroscopy, GC/HPLC, and X-ray crystallography. Computational methods are also used routinely in our work. Most of our research projects are interdisciplinary in nature. We also collaborate closely with several research groups around the world. Following account highlights ongoing work and areas of current interest.

Catalysis: We are interested in developing metal mediated and environmentally friendly processes for the selective functionalization of inert C-H and C-halogen bonds, alkenes, and alkynes. The main focus is on the carbene, nitrene, and oxo transfer processes. We prepare catalysts suitable for these applications using late d-block metal ions and novel supporting ligands with diverse steric and electronic properties.  Recent work includes very efficient silver and zinc catalyzed routes to functionalize C-H bonds in simple hydrocarbons and C-Cl bonds in halogenated reagents. We are also developing disinfectants and water purification technology based on chemical oxidation.

Chemistry of light gases: Gaseous molecules such as ethylene and carbon monoxide figure prominently in many industrial, catalytic and biochemical processes. We are interested in the fundamental chemistry of, and new technology for such processes including sustainable routes to olefin/paraffin separation, catalytic reactions involving these gases as substrates, and controlling the effects of ethylene in plants and plant products.

Light emitting materialsSome of the metal-organic molecules we have developed emit bright light of various colors (spanning blue to red) upon excitation, and have ideal properties for LED and small molecule sensing applications. Development of sensors based on this chemistry to detect volatile organic compounds is an area of current activity. We are also working on the synthesis of fluorescent imaging agents that can selectively “stain” abnormal tissues like cancer cells. 

Reaction intermediates: We interested in the structures and properties of reaction intermediates of metal mediated processes. Reactive organometallic species involving small carbon based ligands like CO, ethylene, and acetylene on metals are of particular interest because they are found in a large number of chemical processes. Highly fluorinated ligands and anions are used frequently in our work to stabilize "bottle-able" models of such species, including silver-ethylene, silver-acetylene, gold-ethylene, gold-carbon monoxide, and gold-tris(ethylene) complexes.

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For a complete list: Google Scholar

Selected publications from recent past:

"Synthesis and X-ray Structure of (2,4,6-Me3C6H2BPC6H11)3: A Boron-Phosphorus Analogue of Borazine"; H. V. R. Dias, P. P. Power, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. Engl. 1987, 26, 1270-1271.

"Electronic Stabilization of Nucleophilic Carbenes"; A. J. Arduengo, III, H. V. R. Dias, R. L. Harlow, M. Kline, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 1992, 114, 5530-5534.

"A Stable Carbene-Alane Adduct"; A. J. Arduengo, III, H. V. R. Dias, J. C. Calabrese, F. Davidson, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 1992, 114, 9724-9725;Highlighted in Chemical and Engineering News, December 14, 1992.

"A Stable Tridentate Carbene Ligand"; H. V. R. Dias, W. Jin, Tetrahedron Lett. 1994, 35, 1365-1366; Recognized as a World Record in Chemistry; See Page 258, “World Records in Chemistry”, Editor H.-J. Quadbeck-Seeger; Wiley, 1999, ISBN 3-527-29574-7.

"Syntheses and Characterization of Tin(II) Complexes Containing 10Π-Electron Ring Systems"; H. V. R. Dias, W. Jin, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 1996, 118, 9123-9126.

"Supramolecular Features of Synthetic Nanotubes”, V. G. Organo, A. V. Leontiev, V. Sgarlata, H. V. R. Dias, D. M. Rudkevich, Angew. Chem.2005, 117, 3103-3107, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2005, 44, 3043-3047. This work has been highlighted in “Chemistry World”, June, 2005.

"Metal Effect on the Supramolecular Structure, Photophysics, and Acid-Base Character of Trinuclear Pyrazolato Coinage Metal Complexes”, M. A. Omary, M. A. Rawashdeh-Omary, M. A. W. Gonser, O. Elbjeirami, T. Grimes, T. R. Cundari, H. V. K. Diyabalanage, C. S. Palehepitiya Gamage, and H. V. R. Dias, Inorg. Chem.2005, 44, 8200-8210. Highlighted on the Inorganic Chemistry Cover, Nov 14, 2005.

"A mild, copper catalyzed route to conducting polyaniline”, H. V. R. Dias, X. Wang, R. M. G. Rajapakse, R. L. Elsenbaumer, Chem. Commun.2006, 976-978. Highlighted in Chemical and Engineering News, March 6, 2006.

“A “Classical” Silver Carbonyl Complex [MeB(3-(Mes)Pz)3]AgCO and the Related Silver Ethylene Adduct [MeB(3-(Mes)Pz)3]Ag(C2H4)”, H. V. R. Dias, M. Fianchini, Angew. Chem., 2007, 119, 2238-2241, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed.2007, 46, 2188-2191. Highlighted in the frontispiece.

“Thermally stable gold(I) ethylene adducts: [HB(3,5-(CF3)2Pz)3]Au(CH2=CH2) and [HB(3-(CF3),5-(Ph)Pz)3]Au(CH2=CH2)”, H. V. R. Dias, J. Wu, Angew. Chem.2007, 119, 7960-7962; Angew. Chem., Int. Ed., 2007, 46, 7814-7816. Identified as a “Hot-Paper” in Angew. Chem., Int. Ed. Highlighted in Chemical and Engineering News, September 17, 2007.

“Structurally characterized coinage metal ethylene complexes”, H. V. R. Dias, J. Wu, Invited Microreview for Eur. J. Inorg. Chem.2008, 509-522, and 2008, 2113. Highlighted on the European Journal of Inorganic Chemistry Cover, Issue 4, 2008.

“Carbonyl and Olefin Adducts of Coinage Metals Supported by Poly(pyrazolyl)borate and Poly(pyrazolyl)alkane Ligands and Silver Mediated Atom Transfer Reactions”, H. V. R. Dias, C. J. Lovely, Chem. Rev. 2008, 108, 3223–3238; Highlighted on the Journal Inside Cover.

“Gold(I) Chloride Coordinated 3-Hexyne”, J. Wu, P. Kroll, H. V. R. Dias, Inorg. Chem.2009, 48, 423-425; Highlighted on the Inorganic Chemistry Cover, March 2009, Issue 5.

“Isolable, Gold Carbonyl Complexes Supported by N-Heterocyclic Carbenes”, C. Dash, P. Kroll, M. Yousufuddin, H. V. R. Dias, Chem. Commun.2011, 47, 4478-4480; Highlighted in Chemical and Engineering News, “Golden carbonyls proliferate”, March 2011.

"Isolable, Copper(I) Dicarbonyl Complexes Supported by N-Heterocyclic Carbenes", C. Dash, A. Das, M. Yousufuddin, H. V. R. Dias, Inorg. Chem.2013, 52, 1584-1590.

"Tris(alkyne) and bis(alkyne) complexes of coinage metals: synthesis and characterization of (cyclooctyne)3M+ (M = Cu, Ag) and (cyclooctyne)2Au+and coinage metal (M = Cu, Ag, Au) family group trends", A. Das, C. Dash, M. Ali Celik, M. Yousufuddin, G. Frenking, H. V. R. Dias, Organometallics,2013,32, 3135-3144; Highlighted on the Organometallics Cover, June 2013, Issue 11.

"Use of [SbF6]- to isolate cationic copper and silver adducts with more than one ethylene on the metal center", M. Fianchini, C. F. Campana, T. R. Cundari, V. Petricek, H. V. R. Dias, Organometallics2013, 32, 3034-3041.

"Isolable tris(alkyne) and bis(alkyne) complexes of gold(I)", A. Das, C. Dash, M. Yousufuddin, M. Ali Celik, G. Frenking, H. V. R. Dias, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed.2012, 51, 3940-3943.

B.Sc. (First Class Honors)
University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka (1983)

Ph.D. University of California, Davis (1988)

Postdoctoral Fellow:
University of California, Davis (1989)

Visiting Research Scientist:
Du Pont Central Research & Development (1990-1992)

Rasika Dias was born in Colombo, Sri Lanka. He received his B.Sc. (first class honors) degree in chemistry from University of Peradeniya in 1983 and Ph.D. in chemistry from University of California, Davis in 1988. His graduate research under the direction of Professor Philip Power was mainly focused on the low-valent and low-coordinate compounds of Group 13-15 elements. He then spent close to three years at the DuPont Central Research & Development, Delaware as a Visiting Research Scientist and worked with Dr. Anthony Arduengo. That work led to the discovery of the first "bottle-able" NHC carbenes and direct routes to their main-group and d-block element adducts (e.g., Cu, Ag, Al, Ge). Rasika joined the University of Texas at Arlington faculty in 1992, where he is presently a Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. He also served as the department chair. His current research activities concern homogeneous catalysis, ethylene chemistry (olefin-paraffin separation, sensing, and effects on plants), metal carbonyl chemistry, luminescent materials, isolable models for reaction intermediates, development of novel disinfectants and preservatives, and the study of bonding in metal complexes. Rasika has been the author or co-author of several patents, reviews and over 200 papers in leading, peer-reviewed journals (H-index = 61 (September 2018)). A number of his research findings have been highlighted on journal cover pages, Chemical & Engineering News, and as hot-papers. He has won awards for all key categories (i.e., research, teaching, and service) including the Outstanding Research Achievement Award at UT Arlington, and was inducted to UT Arlington Academy of Distinguished Scholars in 2012. Rasika also received the 2009 Southwest Regional American Chemical Society Award, 2009 Wilfred T. Doherty Award of the Dallas-Fort Worth Section of the American Chemical Society, 2004-2005 The Robert A. Welch Foundation Lectureship, and was selected to the Editorial Advisory Boards of Inorganic Chemistry and Dalton Transactions.

Inducted to the UTA Academy of Distinguished Scholars, 2012 

Southwest Regional Award of the American Chemical Society, 2009 

Wilfred T. Doherty Award of the Dallas - Fort Worth Section of the American Chemical Society, 2009 

The University of Texas at Arlington Award for Outstanding Research Achievement, 2007 

Editorial Advisory Boards: Inorganic Chemistry, 2007-2009, Dalton Transactions, 2009-to date 

Outstanding Research Achievement, College of Science, The University of Texas at Arlington, 2005-2006 

The Robert A. Welch Foundation Lectureship, 2004-2005 

Outstanding Academic Advisor, The University of Texas at Arlington, 2003 

Outstanding Teacher, College of Science, The University of Texas at Arlington, 2000-2001 

Outstanding Graduating Ph.D. Award for Chemistry, University of California, Davis, 1988 

Dow Award for Outstanding Graduate Accomplishment, University of California, Davis, 1987 

Bhikaji Framji Khan Gold Medal for Chemistry, University of Peradeniya, 1983

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

The University of Texas at Arlington · Arlington, Texas 76019-0065 USA

Phone: 817-272-3171 | Fax: 817-272-3808

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