The University of Texas at Arlington

Rasika Dias

Rasika  Dias

Distinguished Professor

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

Research GroupResearch ProfileCourses

Our research efforts cover several important areas of chemistry such as (i) homogeneous catalysis, (ii) luminescent materials, (iii) reactive intermediates, (iv) metals in medicine and biological processes, (v) functionalized nano-materials, and (vi) disinfectants and preservatives. We employ a variety of modern synthetic and analytical techniques including Schlenk and glove box methods, IR-Raman spectroscopy, multinuclear NMR spectroscopy, and X-ray crystallography. Computational methods are also used routinely in our work. Most of our research projects are interdisciplinary in nature and are inter-related. We also collaborate closely with several research groups at UTA and around the world. Following account highlights some of the ongoing work in three areas of interest.

Catalysis: We are interested in developing metal mediated and environmentally friendly processes for (a) the selective activation of inert C-H and C-halogen bonds, and (b) useful polymers and commodity chemicals. We prepare catalysts suitable for these applications using novel ligands (in particular, highly fluorinated systems) with diverse steric and electronic properties and late-transition metal ions. We also employ metal nanoparticles or magnetic nanomaterial functionalized with catalysts for various transformations. Recently, we discovered a very efficient silver catalyzed route to activate C-H bonds in simple hydrocarbons and C-Cl and C-Br bonds in halogenated reagents. We have also reported the synthesis of conducting polymers like polyaniline and polypyrrole via a metal mediated, greener oxidation pathway. We are also developing water purification technology based on nanomaterials and disinfectants.

Reaction intermediates: We have a particularly strong interest in structures and properties of reaction intermediates of metal mediated processes. Highly fluorinated ligands and anions are used widely in our work to stabilize or prepare "bottle-able" models of such species. Reactive organometallic species involving small carbon based ligands like CO, alkenes, and alkynes are of particular interest because they are utilized in a large number of industrially relevant chemical processes. We have reported the first structural details of several Cu, Ag, and Au adducts featuring these small ligands.

Light emitting materials: Some of the metal-organic molecules we have developed emit bright light of various colors (spanning blue to red) upon excitation. These materials have ideal properties for LED and sensor applications. We are also interested in developing nanomaterials decorated with light-emitting materials as selective imaging agents for abnormal tissues like cancer cells and as sensors for small molecules.

Publications (selected from 2012-14):

"Coordination and ligand substitution chemistry of bis(cyclooctyne)copper(I)", A. Das, C. Dash, M. Yousufuddin, H. V. R. Dias, Organometallics., 2014, 33, 1644–1650.

"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, Organometallics, 2013, 32, 3034-3041.

"A microreview on the greener synthesis of nanoparticles and nanomaterials", O. V. Kharissova, H. V. R. Dias, B. I. Kharisov, B. O. Pérez, V. M. Jiménez-Pérez, Trends in Biotechnology, 2013, 31, 240-248.

"Silver(I) and copper(I) adducts of a tris(pyrazolyl)borate decorated with nine trifluoromethyl groups", N. B. Jayaratna, I. I. Gerus, R. V. Mironets, P. Mykhailiuk, M. Yousufuddin, H. V. R. Dias, Inorg. Chem., 2013,52, 1691-1693.

"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.

"Synthesis and biological activity of ester- and amide-functionalized imidazolium salts and related water soluble coinage metal N-heterocyclic carbene complexes", M. Pellei, V. Gandin, M. Marinelli, C. Marzano, M. Yousufuddin, H. V. R. Dias, C. Santini, Inorg. Chem., 2012, 51, 9873-9882.

"Iron-containing nanomaterials: synthesis, properties, and environmental applications", B. I. Kharisov, H. V. R. Dias, O. V. Kharissova, V. M. Jimenez-Perez, B. O. Perez, B. M. Flores, RSC Adv., 2012, 2, 9325-9358.

Publications (selected few prior to 2012):

See more complete list:  Google scholar

"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 10p-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.

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 and played a major role in the development of "stable" carbenes (NHC) and their main-group element adducts. Rasika joined the University of Texas at Arlington faculty in 1992, where he is presently a Distinguished Scholar Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. He also served as a visiting research professor at the Institute of Fundamental Studies, Kandy, Sri Lanka. His current research activities concern homogeneous catalysis, luminescent materials, synthesis of isolable models for reaction intermediates, bio-mimetic and enzymatic oxidation chemistry, development of greener routes to chemicals, novel disinfectants and preservatives, and the study of bonding in metal adducts. Rasika has been the author or co-author of several patents, reviews and over 180 papers in leading, peer-reviewed journals (H-index = 48 (May 2014)). 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

SW Regional Award of the American Chemical Society, 2009

Wilfred T. Doherty Award of the Dallas-Ft. 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, 2009-2014

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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