Catalysis is the increase in the rate of a chemical reaction by the addition of a reagent — the catalyst — that is not itself consumed. The catalyst works by opening up a route between starting material and product with a lower activation barrier than the uncatalyzed process.


Latest Research and Reviews

  • Research |

    Low-molecular-weight, highly branched polyethylenes are attractive candidates for synthetic lubricants, but their efficient production is constrained by a lack of effective catalytic methods. While conventional group IV transition metal catalysts produce diverse polyethylenes on a huge scale, they are unable to produce highly branched polyethylenes. Here a hydrocarbon-soluble organozirconium precatalyst and borate cocatalyst produce the desired polyethylenes with excellent activity and branch selectivity.

    • Yanshan Gao
    • , Jiazhen Chen
    • , Yang Wang
    • , David B. Pickens
    • , Alessandro Motta
    • , Q. Jane Wang
    • , Yip-Wah Chung
    • , Tracy L. Lohr
    •  & Tobin J. Marks
  • Research |

    Copper on ceria is an excellent catalyst for the low-temperature water–gas shift reaction. Here the active sites are directly imaged by electron microscopy and probed with in situ spectroscopy, showing that the reaction proceeds via a cooperative mechanism whereby the Cu+ chemically adsorbs CO while an adjacent Ov–Ce3+ site dissociatively activates H2O.

    • Aling Chen
    • , Xiaojuan Yu
    • , Yan Zhou
    • , Shu Miao
    • , Yong Li
    • , Sebastian Kuld
    • , Jens Sehested
    • , Jingyue Liu
    • , Toshihiro Aoki
    • , Song Hong
    • , Matteo Farnesi Camellone
    • , Stefano Fabris
    • , Jing Ning
    • , Chuanchuan Jin
    • , Chengwu Yang
    • , Alexei Nefedov
    • , Christof Wöll
    • , Yuemin Wang
    •  & Wenjie Shen
  • Research |

    Photoelectrochemical cells have been widely used for the production of solar fuels, but have seen limited applications in organic synthesis. Here the authors demonstrate photoelectrocatalytic C–H amination of aromatics, using haematite as the photoanode.

    • Lei Zhang
    • , Laurent Liardet
    • , Jingshan Luo
    • , Dan Ren
    • , Michael Grätzel
    •  & Xile Hu
  • Research |

    Chiral γ-lactams are of significant interest being present in numerous pharmaceutical agents; however, their chemical synthesis is complex, requiring pre-functionalized starting materials. Now, Park and Chang report an iridium-based catalyst system for the production of chiral γ-lactams from an abundant feedstock via an intramolecular asymmetric sp3 C−H amidation.

    • Yoonsu Park
    •  & Sukbok Chang
  • Research | | open

    Functionalization of carbon radicals formed via 1,5-hydrogen atom transfer of amidyl radicals is an underdeveloped protocol for remote C–H functionalization. Here, the authors report a Cu-catalyzed γ-azidation and oxidative δ-trifluoromethylation of benzohydrazides for the synthesis of more functionalized amides.

    • Xu Bao
    • , Qian Wang
    •  & Jieping Zhu

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