Jones' research ambitions lie with the development of new and fundamentally important areas of main group and transition metal chemistry which challenge previously held views on the structure, bonding and inherent stability of hydrido, low coordination number and/or low oxidation state metal complexes. The chemistry of such main group compounds is highly topical and in the past 5-10 years has led to some of the most important fundamental advances in the history of this field. Jones has published more than 285 papers, including 15 invited review articles and book chapters, in the area. Funding for his work has come from a variety of public, industrial and charitable bodies in the UK, Germany, Australia and the USA. He has attracted more than $6 M for projects on which he was/is the Principal Chief Investigator and a further $5 M for projects on which he was/is a Co-Chief. Jones collaborates extensively with a number of groups in the UK (Oxford, Cardiff, Bristol, Nottingham, Reading), US (Texas, Minnesota), Germany (Berlin, Freiburg, Karlsruhe, Marburg), Denmark, Netherlands, Switzerland and Australia.
Current areas of focus for the Jones group include:
The chemistry of Group 2 metal compounds in the +1 oxidation state.
The use of low oxidation state s- and p-block complexes as hydrogen storage systems, and as replacements for expensive/toxic d-block metal complexes in synthesis and catalysis.
The stabilisation, coordination chemistry and synthetic applications of low oxidation state group 13 and 14 element analogues of N-heterocyclic carbenes.
The development of novel low coordination compounds of the heavier group 15 elements which can be utilised as ligands in the synthesis of fundamentally interesting yet exploitable metal complexes.
The application of low oxidation state main group halides, e.g. "GaI", as new environmentally friendly reagents for organic synthetic methodologies.
The use of bulky guanidinate ligands to stabilise previously inaccessible low oxidation state and/or multiply bonded s-, p-, d- and f-block metal complexes.
The use of theoretical techniques to probe the nature of "unconventional" metal-metal bonds in complexes derived from the above studies.
The activation of biologically relevant small molecules using low valent d-block complexes.