Invention of New Homogenous Catalytic ReactionsConventionally, attaining the highest yield and product selectivity are the governing factors of chemical synthesis. Little consideration is given to the use of multiple reagents in stoichiometric quantities or of chiral auxiliaries, which often are not incorporated into the target molecule and can result in significant side products. It is now recognized that it is highly desirable that all atoms of the starting materials and of the reagents be included in the product. This concept, referred to as “atom-economy,” is a key principle in the “Twelve Principles of Green Chemistry” and has altered the way many chemists design and plan their syntheses. Catalysis plays a central role in attaining high atom-economy for reactions, since, in a well conceived reaction, minute amounts of a catalysis can convert a starting material into a product with significantly increased structural complexity.
The Twelve Principles of Green Chemistry:
Petrochemicals are tremendous resources for fine chemicals production. However, the chemical manipulation of these substrates presents a significant challenge, since they (as well as many renewable resources) are made up of unreactive C—H bonds. As such, these substrates often require long, multistep, energy and waste intensive syntheses to be converted into valuable products. The development of catalytic methods to selectively manipulate bonds, and convert these compounds directly into useful products, referred to as C—H bond activation, is a central challenge in chemistry and is addressed in CGCC research. Efficient C—H activation offers many Green advantages, including atom-economy, waste minimization, and a decrease in the number of synthetic steps relative to typical methods. Other new catalyzed reactions aiming at forming C—X bonds (X = N, O, halogen) is also studied and developed as well as those aiming at forming C—C bonds. These new methodologies should play a central role in the preparation of novel bioactive molecules.