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Dr Pippa Coffer

Director of Teaching

Director of Teaching in the Department of Chemistry


Dr Coffer graduated from Durham with a M.Chem. (Hons.) degree in 2004 and completed a Ph.D. under the supervision of Dr Keith Dillon in 2008. After three years of post-doctoral research in related areas, and a six month KTA position with Professor Karl Coleman, Dr Coffer is now a key part of the teaching fellow team at Durham.

Her current work involves coordinating the collaborative team working to redevelop the second year teaching laboratory courses to reflect changes made in the first year laboratory in 2011. Students are being challenged with a full suite of pre-laboratory exercises, designed to prepare them for efficient learning in the laboratory, and supplemented by a programme of post-laboratory exercises. These new developments have been accompanied by a thorough training programme for graduate students teaching in the undergraduate laboratories which Dr Coffer has helped to design and deliver.

Dr Coffer is a regular contributor to Outreach activities in the department, including the flagship NESIP sixth form project week, where she developed an exciting research project for school students to investigate the properties of graphene developed from the experiences she gained while working for Professor Coleman. Dr Coffer has also taken department Outreach activities into local primary schools and community groups.

Research Interests

Low oxidation state phosphorus compounds

Cyclic triphosphenium ions contain three adjacent phosphorus atoms linked by a hydrocarbon backbone, where the middle phosphorus atom may be regarded as in being in the +1 oxidation state. Dr Coffer’s research focuses on investigating the stability, reactivity and coordination chemistry of these compounds and related species.

Main group compounds containing 2,5-(CF3)2C6H3 (Ar) ligands

Dr Coffer’s research focuses on investigating the synthesis and characterisation of main group compounds containing the electron-withdrawing 2,5-(CF3)2C6H3 ligands, and studying their structure and reactivity.

Selected Publications
  1. P. K. Coffer (née Monks) and K. B. Dillon, “Cyclic Triphosphenium Ions and Related Species,” Coordination Chemistry Reviews, 2013, 257, 910.
  2. P. K. Coffer (née Monks), R. M. K. Deng, K. B. Dillon, M. A. Fox and R. J. Olivey, “Platinum(II) complexes of cyclic triphosphenium ions – a 31P NMR spectroscopic and computational study,” Inorganic Chemistry, 2012, 51, 9799.
  3. P. K. Coffer (née Monks), K. B. Dillon, D. S. Yufit and N. V. Zorina, “Synthesis and characterisation of some group 14 derivatives of the 2,5-(CF3)2C6H3 (Ar) ligand,” Dalton Transactions, 2012, 41, 4460.
  4. R. Bashforth, A. J. Boyall, P. K. Coffer (née Monks), K. B. Dillon, A. E. Goeta, J. A. K. Howard, A. M. Kenwright, H. J. Shepherd and A. L. Thompson “Synthesis of cyclic dicationic derivatives of diphosphanes with three (3P) or four (4P) linked phosphorus atoms: investigations into the relative stablilities of 3P and 4P systems,” Dalton Transactions,2012, 41, 1165.
  5. V. L. Capel,K. B. Dillon,A. E. Goeta,J. A. K. Howard,P. K. Monks,M. R. Probert,H. J. Shepherdand N. V. Zorina, “Stereochemically inactive lone pairs in phosphorus(III) compounds: the characterisation of some derivatives with the 2,5-(CF3)2C6H3 (Ar) substituent and their complexation behaviour towards Pt(II) species,” Dalton Transactions, 2011, 40, 1808.
  6. K. B. Dillon, A. E. Goeta, J. A. K. Howard, P. K. Monks, H. J. Shepherd and A. L. Thompson, Alkyl and aryl dicationic derivatives of cyclic triphosphenium ions,” Dalton Transactions, 2008, 1144.
  7. K. B. Dillon and P. K. Monks, “The mechanism of formation of cyclic triphosphenium ions; detection of transient intermediates in solution,” Dalton Transactions, 2007, 1420.
  8. A. J. Boyall, K. B. Dillon, J. A. K. Howard, P. K. Monks and A. L. Thompson, “Novel (n + 1 + 1) cycloaddition reactions; the formation of cyclic tetraphosphonium dications with four linked phosphorus atoms and an organic backbone,” Dalton Transactions, 2007, 1374.