The Hii Research Group

Welcome to our webpage, where you can meet current/past members and find out about our research interests.

The research projects pursued by our group are (mainly) in the field of catalysis for organic synthesis: homogeneous & heterogeneous; focusing particularly on atom-economical and sustainable processes, operating in a multiphasic system. We work closely with Chemical Engineering colleagues to enhance/understand catalytic processes by the application of continuous flow technology.

Mailing address (from July 2018):

Department of Chemistry

Imperial College London

Molecular Science Research Hub

80, Wood Lane,

London W12 0BZ, United Kingdom


Phone: +44-(0)20-75941142


Who we are:

Research Projects:

Latest KKH group news:


September 2019:

We welcome the arrival of Dr. Firdaus Parveen to the research group (postdoctoral research assistant). She will be working on a joint project with the University of Leeds, on the upgrading of biomass-derived platform chemicals.


Good luck to the MRes students (Justine, Edward and Jeff) in their project vivas and presentations!


July 2019:

We welcome Blaz Oblak (ERASMUS exchange student) from University of Ljubjana, Slovenia. He will be working on a joint project with Warwick University on the development of in situ reaction monitoring tools.















PhD and postdoctoral positions are available in the group, please contact Prof. Mimi Hii for details.


Some recent publications:

Peracetic acid as an atom-efficient reagent for directed C-H acetoxylation of arenes

C. J. Mulligan, S. Bagale, O. Newton, J. S. Parker and K. K. Hii, ACS Sus. Chem. Eng. 2019, 7, 1611−1615

Abstract: Peracetic acid can be used universally as a source of acetate and an oxidant for the selective acetoxylation of C-H bonds in compounds containing ortho-directing groups, catalyzed by Pd(OAc)2. Compared to previous procedures, where persulfates and PhI(OAc)2 were used, the new protocol provides significant improvements in atom efficiency, product yield, substrate scope, cost, scalability and environmental impact. 

DOI: 10.1021/acssuschemeng.8b05370 

Catalysis in flow: Nickel-catalyzed synthesis of primary amines from alcohols and NH3

A. Y. K. Leung, K. Hellgardt and K. K. Hii, ACS Sus. Chem. Eng. 2018, 6, 5479-5484.

Abstract: A highly selective synthesis of primary amines from alcohols and NH3 was achieved on using a commercially available Ni catalyst, without adding H2. Using a continuous flow reaction platform, the amination of aliphatic alcohols can be achieved in good yields and selectivities, as the accumulation of water by-product can be removed. Competitive formation of the nitrile side-product was suppressed when the catalyst is pre-reduced. Modes of catalyst deactivation was also briefly examined .

DOI: 10.1021/acssuschemeng.8b00338

Snapshots: group Christmas party December 2018

Snapshot: helpers at the ROAR opening ceremony, January 2019