Metal-catalyzed Heck reaction, the reaction between alkenes with aryl halides to synthesize styrenyl products, is a discovery of great significance. The revelation got Richard F. Heck, Ei-ichi Negishi, and Akira Suzuki to win the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2010. In a collaborative study, researchers from India and France have developed a gold-catalyzed Heck reaction that overcomes some of the restrictive limitations of the reactions.
The reaction finds widespread applications synthesising many important organic compounds, including natural products, pharmaceuticals, and medicines.
“The most restrictive limitation is the requirement of electronically-biased alkenes such as styrenes, vinyl ethers, or α,β-unsaturated carbonyl compounds, to obtain a single regioisomeric product. Our reaction does not require electronically-biased alkenes and operates efficiently with long-chain aliphatic alkenes furnishing the single regioisomeric product,” informs Dr Nitin T. Patil, the lead researcher of the Department of Chemistry, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Bhopal.
The study has demonstrated the gold-catalyzed fundamental organometallic steps, such as migratory insertion and beta-hydride elimination, in a catalytic fashion for the first time. These processes are central to organometallic chemistry. The researchers believe that the realising these steps in gold catalysis could open up several avenues for synthesizing novel organic compounds that are impossible to make by existing means.
Organometallic compounds contain at least one metal-to-carbon bond in which the carbon is part of an organic group. These compounds constitute an extensive group of substances that have played a significant role in the development of the science of chemistry. They are used to a large extent as catalysts and as intermediates in the laboratory and industry.
Besides IISER, the study team comprises researchers from the Paris-Saclay University, Orsay, France. An article based on the study has been published in the American Chemical Society Publications journal. (India Science Wire)