Homogeneous catalysis

Homogeneous catalysis is a type of catalysis in which the catalyst operates in the same phase as the reactants — usually dissolved in a solvent. Mechanistic studies of homogeneous catalysts are generally easier than those of heterogeneous catalysts, which aids optimization. They can, however, be difficult to separate from the products and thus recycle.

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  • News & Views |

    Metal-catalysed asymmetric allylic alkylations are now well established in natural product synthesis. When applied to butenolides, this reaction has always produced the C3-allylated products rather than the C5-allylated analogues. A method is introduced that provides a switch in regioselectivity and enables straightforward access to butenolide-containing natural products with complete stereocontrol.

    Nature Synthesis 1, 588-589
  • News & Views |

    A strategy to synthesize allenylphosphine derivatives with both P and axial chirality is developed and allows for diverse derivatizations of chiral phosphines. The Ni-catalysed enantioconvergent reaction occurs without racemization or symmetrization of the propargylic carbonate substrate, as demonstrated by combined experimental and computational methods.

  • News & Views |

    Nitrous oxide is traditionally considered to be an inert molecule, and methods for its activation and utilization are currently limited. Now, a strategy has been developed — involving an organometallic Baeyer–Villiger step — for the conversion of aryl halides to phenols under mild conditions, using N2O as the oxygen source.

    • Jun-Jie Chen
    •  & Huan-Ming Huang
    Nature Chemistry 14, 846-848
  • News & Views |

    Nickel-catalysed cross-electrophile coupling (XEC) is a useful reaction in synthetic organic chemistry. Now, a nickel-catalysed electrochemical XEC reaction mediated by dynamic ligand exchange enables the formation of a C(sp2)–C(sp3) bond between tertiary alkyl bromides and aryl (pseudo)halides.

    • Huan-Ming Huang
    Nature Synthesis 1, 510-511
  • News & Views |

    Being able to run two reactions concurrently enables synthetic methods to be streamlined, but simultaneously controlling the selectivity of both reactions is an enormous challenge. Now, a directing group is used to reinvent a classic tandem reaction, activating specific sp3 C–H bonds with pinpoint accuracy.

    • Sarah E. Jenny
    •  & Graham E. Dobereiner
    Nature Chemistry 14, 594-595