Pat was the second person to work extensively in the organolithium-ate complex area, following up on Nancy Phillip's pioneering work. Pat did quantitative studies of PhLi in THF, and showed that TMEDA complexed PhLi but did not significantly activate it, whereas 12-crown-4 dramatically activated PhLi, but did not detectably complex with it. Both HMPA and PMDTA formed strong complexes with PhLi, and also greatly increased the reactivity.|
Pat did extensive NMR and kinetic studies of the ate complexes formed between PhLi and PhI, Ph2Te and other metalloids in THF and THF-HMPA solutions. He showed that dibenzotellurophene formed a more stable ate complex with PhLi than did diphenyl telluride, and this set the stage for later work by Biggie Gudmundsson on stable selenium ate complexes.
Pat studied two more unusual ate complexes of the 12-electron type.
In connection with the ate complex work, Pat was the first person to observe J coupling between lithium and phosphorus in lithium reagents, and he initiated the group's very extensive studies on many lithium reagents and their interaction with HMPA and other strongly coordinating solvents which provided unprecedented details about solvation and ion pair structure. This includes work by Joe Borst. Bob Dykstra, Bill Sikorski, Jennifer Thopson, Biggie Gudmundsson, Klaus Kulicke, Aaron Sanders, Wayne Goldenberg and Kevin Jantzi.
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