Organic Transformations and Catalysis
Most of the interesting and useful organic reactions today are based on transition metal catalysis. There is always a need to discover new organic transformations as well as improve upon known ones. These are aided by an understanding of the reaction pathway. An essential feature of many such transformations is the activation of inert bonds such as C-H, O-H, C-F and N-H bonds. We have been actively working at both the discovery of new organic transformations mediated by transition metals, as well as studies directed at understanding the reaction pathways. Two examples are:
(1) the ruthenium catalysed reductive homocoupling of 9-bromofluorene. This reaction has a turnover number (TON) in excess of 3000. Investigations showed the formation of a cluster species which is also a catalyst for the reaction.
(2) a one-pot synthesis of transition metal aminocarbene complexes. This reaction represents a very direct and simple route to aminocarbene complexes. The reaction pathway was investigated through labeling experiments and computational chemistry.