Skip to Main Content U.S. Department of Energy
Fundamental and Computational Sciences Directorate

Staff information


Monte Helm

Catalysis Science
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
PO Box 999
MSIN: K2-57
Richland, WA 99352

Research Interests

  • My research interests revolve around synthetic and structural main group chemistry, as well as exploring structure/reactivity relationships. Emphasis is placed on the synthesis of new main-group phosphorus containing ligands, with a view towards selective metal coordination, activation and catalysis for energy related applications.

Education and Credentials

  • Associate Professor, Fort Lewis College; Durango, CO ” 2008-12
  • Visiting Scientist, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory; Richland, WA ” 2010-11
  • Assistant Professor, Fort Lewis College; Durango, CO ” 2003-2008
  • Dreyfus Fellow, University of Tennessee; Chattanooga, TN ” 2001-2003
  • Postdoc Fellow, University of Sussex; Brighton, UK ” 2001-2003
  • Ph.D. (Inorganic Chemistry), University of Colorado; Boulder, CO ” 1995-2000
  • B.Sc., University of Minnesota; Moorhead, MN ” 1991-1995

Affiliations and Professional Service

  • American Chemical Society, member, 1994 - present

PNNL Publications


  • Wiedner ES, HJ Brown, and ML Helm. 2016. "Kinetic Analysis of Competitive Electrocatalytic Pathways: New Insights into Hydrogen Production with Nickel Electrocatalysts." Journal of the American Chemical Society 138(2):604-616.  doi:10.1021/jacs.5b10853
  • Raugei S, ML Helm, S Hammes-Schiffer, AM Appel, MJ O'Hagan, ES Wiedner, and RM Bullock. 2016. "Experimental and Computational Mechanistic Studies Guiding the Rational Design of Molecular Electrocatalysts for Production and Oxidation of Hydrogen." Inorganic Chemistry 55(2):445-460.  doi:10.1021/acs.inorgchem.5b02262


  • Brown HJS, S Wiese, JA Roberts, RM Bullock, and ML Helm. 2015. "Electrocatalytic Hydrogen Production by [Ni(7PPh2NH)2]2+: Removing the Distinction Between Endo- and Exo- Protonation Sites." ACS Catalysis 5(4):2116-2123.  doi:10.1021/cs502132y
  • Bullock RM, and ML Helm. 2015. "Molecular Electrocatalysts for Oxidation of Hydrogen Using Earth-Abundant Metals: Shoving Protons Around With Proton Relays ." Accounts of Chemical Research 48(7):2017-2026.  doi:10.1021/acs.accounts.5b00069
  • Cheng Y, RM Stolley, KS Han, Y Shao, BW Arey, NM Washton, KT Mueller, ML Helm, VL Sprenkle, J Liu, and G Li. 2015. "Highly Active Electrolytes for Rechargeable Mg Batteries Based on [Mg2(µ-Cl)2]2+ Cation Complex in Dimethoxyethane." Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics. PCCP 17(20):13307-13314.  doi:10.1039/C5CP00859J
  • Cosimbescu L, X Wei, M Vijayakumar, W Xu, ML Helm, SD Burton, CM Sorensen, J Liu, VL Sprenkle, and W Wang. 2015. "Anion-Tunable Properties and Electrochemical Performance of Functionalized Ferrocene Compounds." Scientific Reports 5:14117.  doi:10.1038/srep14117
  • Darmon JM, N Kumar, E Hulley, CJ Weiss, S Raugei, RM Bullock, and ML Helm. 2015. "Increasing the Rate of Hydrogen Oxidation without Increasing the Overpotential: A Bio-Inspired Iron Molecular Electrocatalyst with an Outer Coordination Sphere Proton Relay." Chemical Science 6(5):2737-2745.  doi:10.1039/C5SC00398A
  • Dutta A, SJ Lense, JA Roberts, ML Helm, and WJ Shaw. 2015. "The role of solvent and the outer coordination sphere on H2 oxidation using [Ni(PCy2NPyz2)2]2+." European Journal of Inorganic Chemistry 2015(31):5218-5225.  doi:10.1002/ejic.201500732
  • Miller DL, BJ Boro, K Grubel, ML Helm, and AM Appel. 2015. "Synthesis and Characterization of a New TRIPHOS Ligand Derivative and the Corresponding Pd(II) Complexes." European Journal of Inorganic Chemistry 2015(35):5781-5785.  doi:10.1002/ejic.201500791
  • Peterson SM, ML Helm, and AM Appel. 2015. "Nickel Complexes of a Binucleating Ligand Derived from an SCS Pincer." Dalton Transactions 44(2):747-752.  doi:10.1039/c4dt02718c


  • Hulley EB, ML Helm, and RM Bullock. 2014. "Heterolytic Cleavage of H2 by Bifunctional Manganese(I) Complexes: Impact of Ligand Dynamics, Electrophilicity, and Base Positioning." Chemical Science 5(12):4729-4741.  doi:10.1039/c4sc01801j
  • Stolley RM, and ML Helm. 2014. "Light-harvesting materials: Soft support for energy conversion." Nature Chemistry 6:949-950.  doi:10.1038/nchem.2088
  • Stolley RM, JM Darmon, and ML Helm. 2014. "Solvent and Electrolyte Effects on Ni(PR2NR'2)2-Catalyzed Electrochemical Oxidation of Hydrogen." Chemical Communications 50(28):3681-3684.  doi:10.1039/c4cc00295d
  • Wiedner ES, and ML Helm. 2014. "Comparison of [Ni(PPh2NPh2)2(CH3CN)]2+ and [Pd(PPh2NPh2)2]2+ as Electrocatalysts for H2 Production." Organometallics 33(18):4617-4620.  doi:10.1021/om4010669
  • Appel AM, and ML Helm. 2014. "Determining the Overpotential for a Molecular Electrocatalyst." ACS Catalysis 4(2):630-633.  doi:10.1021/cs401013v
  • Bullock RM, AM Appel, and ML Helm. 2014. "Production of Hydrogen by Electrocatalysis: Making the H-H Bond by Combining Protons and Hydrides." Chemical Communications 50(24):3125-3143.  doi:10.1039/c3cc46135a
  • Darmon JM, S Raugei, TL Liu, EB Hulley, CJ Weiss, RM Bullock, and ML Helm. 2014. "Iron Complexes for the Electrocatalytic Oxidation of Hydrogen: Tuning Primary and Secondary Coordination Spheres." ACS Catalysis 4(4):1246-1260.  doi:10.1021/cs500290w
  • Das PP, MH Ho, MJ O'Hagan, WJ Shaw, RM Bullock, S Raugei, and ML Helm. 2014. "Controlling Proton Movement: Electrocatalytic Oxidation of Hydrogen by a Nickel(II) Complex Containing Proton Relays in the Second and Outer Coordination Spheres." Dalton Transactions 43(7):27442754.  doi:10.1039/c3dt53074d
  • Das PP, RM Stolley, EF Van Der Eide, and ML Helm. 2014. "A Ni(II) Bis(diphosphine)-Hydride Complex Containing Proton Relays - Structural Characterization and Electrocatalytic Studies." European Journal of Inorganic Chemistry 27:4611-4618.  doi:10.1002/ejic.201402250
  • Fang M, MH Engelhard, Z Zhu, ML Helm, and JA Roberts. 2014. "Electrodeposition From Acidic Solutions of Nickel Bis(benzenedithiolate) Produces a Hydrogen-Evolving Ni-S Film on Glassy Carbon." ACS Catalysis 4(1):90-98.  doi:10.1021/cs400675u
  • Galan BR, ES Wiedner, ML Helm, JC Linehan, and AM Appel. 2014. "Effects of Phosphine-Carbene Substitutions on the Electrochemical and Thermodynamic Properties of Nickel Complexes." Organometallics 33(9):2287-2294.  doi:10.1021/om500206e
  • Hou J, M Fang, AJ Cardenas, WJ Shaw, ML Helm, RM Bullock, JA Roberts, and MJ O'Hagan. 2014. "Electrocatalytic H2 production with a turnover frequency >107 s-1: The medium provides an increase in rate but not overpotential." Energy and Environmental Science 7(12):4013 - 4017.  doi:10.1039/c4ee01899k
  • Jeletic MS, ML Helm, EB Hulley, MT Mock, AM Appel, and JC Linehan. 2014. "A Cobalt Hydride Catalyst for the Hydrogenation of CO2: Pathways for Catalysis and Deactivation." ACS Catalysis 4(10):3755-3762.  doi:10.1021/cs5009927
  • Weiss CJ, JD Egbert, S Chen, ML Helm, RM Bullock, and MT Mock. 2014. "Protonation Studies of a Tungsten Dinitrogen Complex Supported by a Diphosphine Ligand Containing a Pendant Amine." Organometallics 33(9):21859-2200.  doi:10.1021/om401127v
  • Weiss CJ, PP Das, DLM Higgins, ML Helm, and AM Appel. 2014. "Catalytic Oxidation of Alcohol via Nickel Phosphine Complexes with Pendant Amines." ACS Catalysis 4(9):2951-2958.  doi:10.1021/cs500853f


  • van der Eide EF, ML Helm, ED Walter, and RM Bullock. 2013. "Structural and Spectroscopic Characterization of 17- and 18-Electron Piano-Stool Complexes of Chromium. Thermochemical Analyses of Weak Cr-H Bonds." Inorganic Chemistry 52(3):1591-1603.  doi:10.1021/ic302460y
  • Franz JA, MJ O'Hagan, MH Ho, TL Liu, ML Helm, S Lense, DL DuBois, WJ Shaw, AM Appel, S Raugei, and RM Bullock. 2013. "Conformational Dynamics and Proton Relay Positioning in Nickel Catalysts for Hydrogen Production and Oxidation." Organometallics 32(23):7034-7042.  doi:10.1021/om400695w
  • Hoffert WA, JA Roberts, RM Bullock, and ML Helm. 2013. "Production of H2 at Fast Rates Using a Nickel Electrocatalyst in Water/Acetonitrile Solutions." Chemical Communications 49(71):7767-7769.  doi:10.1039/c3cc43203c
  • Shaw WJ, ML Helm, and DL DuBois. 2013. "A Modular, Energy-Based Approach to the Development of Nickel Containing Molecular Electrocatalysts for Hydrogen Production and Oxidation." Biochimica et Biophysica Acta--Bioenergetics 1827(8-9):1123-1139.  doi:10.1016/j.bbabio.2013.01.003
  • Stewart MP, II, MH Ho, S Wiese, ML Lindstrom, CE Thogerson, S Raugei, RM Bullock, and ML Helm. 2013. "High Catalytic Rates for Hydrogen Production Using Nickel Electrocatalysts with Seven-Membered Diphosphine Ligands Containing One Pendent Amine." Journal of the American Chemical Society 135(16):6033-6046.  doi:10.1021/ja400181a
  • Wiese S, UJ Kilgore, MH Ho, S Raugei, DL DuBois, RM Bullock, and ML Helm. 2013. "Hydrogen Production using Nickel Electrocatalysts with Pendant Amines: Ligand Effects on Rates and Overpotentials." ACS Catalysis 3(11):2527-2535.  doi:10.1021/cs400638f


  • Jain A, ML Helm, JC Linehan, DL DuBois, and WJ Shaw. 2012. "Biologically Inspired Phosphino Platinum Complexes." Inorganic Chemistry Communications 22:65-67.  doi:10.1016/j.inoche.2012.04.039
  • Jain A, ML Reback, ML Lindstrom, CE Thogerson, ML Helm, AM Appel, and WJ Shaw. 2012. "Investigating the Role of the Outer-Coordination Sphere in [Ni(PPh2NPh-R2)2]2+ Hydrogenase Mimics." Inorganic Chemistry 51(12):6592-6602.  doi:10.1021/ic300149x
  • Cosimbescu L, L Wang, ML Helm, E Polikarpov, JS Swensen, and AB Padmaperuma. 2012. "Electron Transport Materials: Synthesis, Properties and Device Performance." International Journal of Organic Chemistry 2(2):101-110.  doi:10.4236/ijoc.2012.22016
  • Weiss CJ, AN Groves, MT Mock, WG Dougherty, WS Kassel, ML Helm, DL DuBois, and RM Bullock. 2012. "Synthesis and reactivity of molybdenum and tungsten bis(dinitrogen) complexes supported by diphosphine chelates containing pendant amines." Dalton Transactions 41(15):4517-4529.  doi:10.1039/C2DT12224C
  • Wiedner ES, JY Yang, S Chen, S Raugei, WG Dougherty, WS Kassel, ML Helm, RM Bullock, M Rakowski DuBois, and DL DuBois. 2012. "Stabilization of Nickel Complexes with Ni0···H-N Bonding Interactions Using Sterically Demanding Cyclic Diphosphine Ligands." Organometallics 31(1):144-156.  doi:10.1021/om200709z


  • Galan BR, J Schoffel, JC Linehan, C Seu, AM Appel, JA Roberts, ML Helm, UJ Kilgore, JY Yang, DL DuBois, and C Kubiak. 2011. "Electrocatalytic Oxidation of Formate by [Ni(PR2NR`2)2(CH3CN)]2+ Complexes." Journal of the American Chemical Society 113(35):12767-12779.  doi:10.1021/ja204489e
  • Helm ML, MP Stewart, II, RM Bullock, M Rakowski DuBois, and DL DuBois. 2011. "A Synthetic Nickel Electrocatalyst With a Turnover Frequency Above 100,000 s-1 for H2 Production." Science 333(6044):863-866.  doi:10.1126/science.1205864
  • Kilgore UJ, MP Stewart, II, ML Helm, WG Dougherty, WS Kassel, M Rakowski DuBois, DL DuBois, and RM Bullock. 2011. "Studies of a Series of [Ni(PR2NPh2)2(CH3CN)]2+ Complexes as Electrocatalysts for H2 Production: Substituent Variation at the Phosphorus Atom of the P2N2 Ligand." Inorganic Chemistry 50(21):10908-10918. 

Science at PNNL

Research Areas


User Facilities

Research Highlights

View All Research Highlights & Staff Accomplishments

RSS Feed