Volume 88 Issue 8 | p. 35 | Concentrates
Issue Date: February 22, 2010

Cocatalyst Tag Team

Pair of small molecules cooperate to make optically pure products from reactive cationic intermediate
Department: Science & Technology
Keywords: organocatalysis, organic chemistry, computational chemistry

Adding a chiral urea’s embrace to a ring-forming reaction catalyzed by an achiral Brønsted acid renders the process highly enantioselective, chemists at Harvard University have found (Science 2010, 327, 986). The work could inspire a general strategy for using organocatalysts to perform enantioselective transformations on cations. Several teams have already used “cooperative catalysis” that pairs a metal catalyst or organocatalyst with a cocatalyst to achieve selective bond formations. Eric N. Jacobsen and colleagues . . .

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