Miquel Solà

Catalysis and Aromaticity

Contact info:
Dr. Miquel Solà
Tel. (+34) 972 41 89 12


Selected publications

Miquel Solà
Connecting and combining rules of aromaticity. Towards a unified theory of aromaticity
WIREs Comput Mol Sci, 2019, 9, e1404
DOI: 10.1002/wcms.1404

Marta Izquierdo, Benedikt Platzer, Anton J. Stasyuk, Olga A. Stasyuk, Alexander A. Voityuk, Sergio Cuesta, Miquel Solà, Dirk M. Guldi, Nazario Martín
All-Fullerene Electron Donor-Acceptor Conjugates
Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2019, 58, 6932-6937
DOI: 10.1002/anie.201901863

Jesús Antonio Luque-Urrutia, Miquel Solà, David Milstein, Albert Poater
Mechanism of the Manganese-Pincer-Catalyzed Acceptorless Dehydrogenative Coupling of Nitriles and Alcohols
J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2019, 141, 2398-2403
DOI: 10.1021/jacs.8b11308

Ouissam El Bakouri, Verònica Postils, Marc Garcia-Borràs, Miquel Duran, Josep M. Luis, Simone Calvello, Alessandro Soncini, Eduard Matito, Ferran Feixas, Miquel Solà
Metal Cluster Electrides: a new Type of Molecular Electrides with Delocalised Polyattractor Character
Chem. Eur. J., 2018, 24, 9853-9859
DOI: 10.1002/chem.201800878

Marc Garcia-Borràs, Maira R. Cerón, Sílvia Osuna, Marta Izquierdo, Josep M. Luis, Luis Echegoyen, Miquel Solà
The Regioselectivity of Bingel-Hirsch Cycloadditions on Isolated Pentagon Rule Endohedral Metallofullerenes
Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2016, 55, 2374-2377
DOI: 10.1002/anie.201509057

+ Publications

Dr. Miquel Solà

Miquel Solà (1964) obtained his PhD at the UAB in 1991 with academic honours. His doctoral research under the supervision of Profs. Juan Bertran and Agustí Lledós was awarded with the Saint Albert Prize. After several months in a consultant private company, in 1993 he moved to the University of Girona (UdG) as assistant researcher. In 1994 he did postdoctoral research in Amsterdam with Prof. Evert Jan Baerends and in 1995 in Calgary with Prof. Tom Ziegler. He was appointed assistant professor of the UdG in 1997. In 2001, he got the Distinction for the Promotion of University Research (young scientist category). Since 2003, he holds a permanent position as full professor in the UdG. He was awarded with the ICREA Academia Prize two times, in 2009 and 2014. In 2013 he got the Physical Chemistry prize awarded by the Spanish Royal Society of Chemistry. He is coauthor of about 300 scientific papers and has supervised 13 doctoral Theses. He serves in the Editorial Board of Theor. Chem. Acc. and Sci. Rep. journals. At the UdG, he has served as director of the Institute of Computational Chemistry and Catalysis (2004-07), director of the Department of Chemistry (2007-10), and director of the School of Doctoral Studies (2010-14).

Research overview

He works in the field of theoretical and computational chemistry. In the last years, his research interests have been mainly focused on four research lines: i) the study of molecular aromaticity, and particularly the development of new indicators of aromaticity and the examination of new forms of aromaticity such as three-dimensional aromaticity, metalloaromaticity, and multiple aromaticity; ii) the analysis of the nature of the chemical bond using energy decomposition analysis and different electron delocalization measures like multicenter electron delocalization indices or the electron localization function; iii) the investigation of organic and organometallic reaction mechanisms with special emphasis on the reactivity of fullerenes and endohedral metallofullerenes, and iv) the critical assessment of reactivity principles derived in the framework of the conceptual density functional theory. .

Aromaticity of classical organic aromatic and heteroaromatic compounds

Aromatic species have rings or closed structures characterized by high electronic delocalization. With this in mind, our group has been pioneering in analyzing the aromaticity of classical aromatic and heteroaromatic compounds through electronic-based aromaticity measures. We have developed new aromaticity indices like PDI, FLU, INB and ING for such purpose, which perfectly complement others like the geometrical HOMA or the magnetic NICS. More recently, we have analyzed these heteroaromatic compounds (with especial emphasis of the corresponding isomerization energies) by means of Morokuma-like energy decomposition analysis and the turn-upside-down approach.


In the last decades the study of aromaticity has experienced an enormous progress. The new discoveries include species such as the metallabenzenes, heterometallabenzenes, metallabenzynes, metallabenzenoids, metallacyclopentadienes, metallacyclobutadienes and all-metal and semimetal clusters. These new molecules, which are potentially useful for certain purposes as specific and very efficient catalysts, molecular electronic devices, molecular magnets, drugs, and other as yet unimagined applications, have brought a complete revolution in the field. At variance with the classical aromatic organic molecules that possess only ?-electron delocalization, aromaticity in these new species is much more complex. These compounds have ?-, ?-, ?- and ?-electron delocalization. In addition, they can combine different types of aromaticity thus giving rise to double or triple aromaticity, the so-called multifold aromaticity. The new molecules can also have conflicting aromaticity, i.e., they can be aromatic in one component and antiaromatic in another. Moreover, most of the old indicators are not valid to discuss the complex aromaticity of these novel compounds. The analysis of metalloaromaticity in our group follows two main directions. First, we discuss the metalloaromaticity and the molecular properties of metallacycles and all-metal and semimetal clusters. And second, we aim to find reliable measures of aromaticity in these systems. In particular the use of multicenter electronic delocalization indices is advocated because they help to detect the different types of aromaticity and provide reasonable qualitative orderings of aromaticity.


New Methods and Tools to Quantify Aromaticity in Molecules

Aromaticity is a concept of capital importance in chemistry: it governs chemical reactions, attributes extra stabilization to molecular structures and assigns exalted magnetic properties. Unfortunately, there is not a unique way to account for aromaticity and, as a result, many indices accounting for different manifestations of aromaticity are available in the literature. Our group has actively worked in the construction of new electronic aromaticity indices departing from the fact that aromaticity is related to cyclic electronic delocalization. For such, we have suggested several new measures, including PDI, FLU, INB and ING indices. Interestingly, the last two use the so-called multicenter indices, which have been proven to perform the best in different chemical enviroments (from organic to all-metal aromatic compounds), together with the magnetic-based nucleus independent chemical shifts (NICS).


Organometallic chemistry: reaction mechanisms and computations.

In this line of research we carry out extensive mechanistic studies, i.e. we determine the reaction path followed from reactants to products, with localization of intermediates and transition states in organometallic and bioinorganic reactions. Most of the mechanisms investigated in this research line yield products of special interest either at large-scale manufacturing or because of their properties as powerful drugs, antibiotics or anticancer agents. Since in these cases obtaining the desired product (or, on the contrary, of an undesired by-product) can represent a gain (or a loss) of many million dollars every day, and since the final result is mainly governed by the path followed by the reaction, there is a great incentive to improve the understanding of the details of the operative mechanism of a given chemical process.


Fullerene Chemistry and Electron Transfer in Biomolecules and Materials

Fullerene-based architectures are being intensively studied as electron acceptor materials in the construction of plastic photovoltaic cell devices because of their unique structural and electron acceptor properties. Organic solar cells containing fullerenes have already been commercialized but the current power conversion efficiency (PCE) achieved is less than 10%. Most of the fullerene-based photovoltaic cells are based on the bulk heterojunction concept, where a donor is blended with a fullerene-based derivative that acts as acceptor. Possible alternatives to improve the current efficiencies in such organic solar cells involve the covalent linkage of the donor molecule with the fullerene surface. The covalent functionalization of the donor molecule to fullerenes and EMFs is mainly achieved via cycloaddition reactions, principally through Diels-Alder (DA), 1,3-dipolar (Prato) and nucleophilic [2+1] Bingel-Hirsch (BH) cycloaddition. In this project, we aim to computationally design new donor-acceptor conjugates with the ability to efficiently generate long-live charge separated states with lifetimes comparable to those observed in natural photosynthetic systems. To that aim, we explore the exohedral reactivity of several donor-acceptor systems based on empty fullerene cages and on EMFs to investigate the thermal stability of the adducts, the effect of the donor position with respect to the fullerene cages, and the ability to form photoinduced charge separated states.



Principal Investigator

Miquel Sola

Full Professor

Staff and Postdocs

Albert Artigas


- M. Solà
- A. Lledó
- A. Pla-Quintana

Alexander Voityuk

ICREA Research Professor

Antony Stasyuk

Postdoc (JdC)

- M. Solà

Dariusz Szczepanik

Postdoc (MSCA-IF)

- M. Solà

Emili Besalú

Prof. Titular

Marc Garcia-Borràs

Postdoc (BP)

- S. Osuna

Olga Stasyuk

Postdoc (JdC)

- M. Solà

Sergei Vyboishchikov

Prof. Agregat

Sílvia Simon


PhD and MACMoM students

Cristina Castanyer

PhD Student (FPI)

- M. Solà
- A. Pla-Quintana

Dandan Chen

PhD student

- M. Solà
- Prof. Jun Zhu (Univ. of Xiamen, China)

Daniel Eduardo Trujillo

PhD Student

- M. Solà
- O. Jiménez (Guanajuato Univ., Mexico)

Jesús Antonio Luque

PhD student (IF-UdG)

- A. Poater
- M. Solà

Pau Besalú

PhD Student (FPU)

- M. Solà
- Josep M. Luis
- P. Salvador

Sílvia Escayola

PhD Student (IF-UdG)

- M. Solà
- A. Poater
- E. Matito (DIPC, Spain)


Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellowships (IF)

Project: MulArEffect
Researcher: D. Szczepanik (M. Solà)
Reference: H2020-MSCA-IF-2017-797335
Funding: 158.122 €
Period: 01/10/2018 – 30/09/2020

MCIU Proyectos I+D. Proyectos I+D

Project: Avances en la Reactividad de Fullerenos y Nanotubos: Estudios Teorico-Experimentales de Ciclaciones Catalizadas por Metales de Transición
Researcher: Dr Miquel Solà & Dr Anna Roglans
Reference: CTQ2017-85341-P
Funding: 199.650 €
Period: 01/01/2018 – 31/12/2020

MCIU Juan de la Cierva

Project: Juan de la Cierva – Formación
Researcher: Dr. Anton Stasyuk
Reference: FJCI-2016-29448
Funding: 50.000 €
Period: 01/05/2018 – 30/04/2020
Project: Juan de la Cierva – Formación
Researcher: Dr. Olga Stasyuk
Reference: FJCI-2017-32757
Funding: 50.000 €
Period: 01/01/2019 – 30/12/2020

Project: Juan de la Cierva – Incorporación
Researcher: Dr. Marc Garcia-Borràs
Reference: IJCI-2017-33411
Funding: 64.000 €
Period: 01/02/2019 – 31/01/2021

AGAUR Projects. Suport a grups de recerca

Project: Disseny i Modelatge de Reaccions Catalitzades per Metalls de Transició (DIMOCAT
Researcher: Dr. Miquel Solà
Reference: 2017 SGR 39
Funding: 44.480 €
Period: 01/01/2017 – 31/12/2020


Review of Mechanistic Studies of Transition-Metal Catalyzed [2+2+2] Cycloaddition Reactions

The development of catalytic methodologies involving the formation of C-C bonds to enable

Cover JACS on the aromaticity of boron clusters

The Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS) features on its front cover the

Too persistent to give up: aromaticity in boron clusters survives radical structural changes

Whereas the aromaticity of closo boranes is widely accepted, less is known about

New non-covalent interactions between boron clusters and aromatic rings

Exploration and comprehension of chemical bonding is one of the central tasks in