Beryllium chemistry the safe way and other computational chemistry
Beryllium is predicted to have the richest chemistry of the alkaline earth metals (group 2), owing to its relatively high electronegativity. This chemistry is underdeveloped as most Be containing molecules are too toxic to handle under reasonable laboratory conditions. Be, however, has few electrons with a predictable electronic nature and this makes it very attractive for theoretical studies using computational methods.
We have predicted several new reactions/molecule classes for Be, and have even seen some of our predictions realized by chemists who can safely handle Be. We are currently exploring the very fertile ground of potential new chemistry in organoberyllium chemistry via computational methods. We also look at the mechanisms of interesting new organometallic reactions reported in the literature for a wide variety of elements, for example, the activation of N-heterocyclic carbenes by element hydrides (Iverson et al., 2013).