The Sceptical Chymist | Showing their metal

Published in Chemistry

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Sadly it’s my final day in Paris, but the conference has finished in fine style with a selection of talks largely focusing on organometallic chemistry and catalysts. I have a soft spot for organometallic chemistry, and so too did the audience it seems, since the lecture theatre was full, even though many attendees were probably slightly hungover from last night’s conference dinner.

But then again, who would miss the chance to see Richard Schrock? He gave a fascinating talk describing the development of his (and Amir Hoveyda’s) stereogenic-at-metal catalysts for asymmetric metathesis reactions (Nature subscribers can read the first report of this work here; JACS subscribers can read the latest paper on the subject here). I was also interested to hear that he has developed catalysts that provide Z-products from metathesis reactions, which has led to the preparation of the first cis– syndiotactic polymer (described in another JACS paper). And there’s more to come – a paper reporting enantio- and endoselective enyne metathesis is currently in press.

So how do you follow that? With Steve Buchwald, of course. He dished out some great advice for those wanting to do C-N bond formations (and I know there are many of you). So, if you’re bewildered by the array of ligands for these reactions, he reckons that one of Xphos, RuPhos (named after his cat, Rufus, by the way) or BrettPhos (which is discussed in this JACS paper) will always do the job. He’s also come up with some useful precatalysts, which he reckons should overcome the problems some people have encountered when using this chemistry (see this JACS paper for a description of the precatalysts).

Not long now before I have to dash off to catch my train home, but there’s just time to mention Jose Barluenga’s talk that discussed the use of Fischer carbene complexes and late transition metal catalysis in organic synthesis (the latter including a rather nice modular approach for making indoles – Angewandte subscribers can read about this here). Perhaps most intriguing was his discussion of a metal-free coupling of tosylhydrazones with boronic acids to make diphenymethane compounds. These were preliminary results, so I’ll be intrigued to see the paper when it’s published.

Right, I’m off to the Gare du Nord. A bientot!


Andrew Mitchinson (Senior Editor, Nature)

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