The implementation of viable practices for the ecologically cognizant production and consumption of energy and renewable resources rank among the most pressing societal challenges of the 21st century. Against this background, the design and development of innovative concepts for the sustainable use of energy and energy-rich compounds from regenerative sources becomes a matter of profound technological and scientific pertinence. A promising approach that has been put forward in the context of chemical synthesis is the application of visible light as an inexpensive source of energy and air as an abundant and gratuitous oxidant for the derivatization of certain hydrocarbons. Despite the enormous economic and ecological benefits associated with the use of light and air as integral components of redox reactions, the realization of such processes is strikingly limited to very isolated applications. Consequently, this methodological deficit represents a momentous opportunity for modern chemical sciences to lastingly transform the routine lines of action for the oxidative manipulation of organic molecules. A key issue that needs to be taken into consideration for the design of efficient light-driven aerobic oxidation protocols is the identification of proper catalyst systems that allow for the site- and chemoselective activation of individual bonds within polyatomic frameworks. In this regard, the prime objective of the proposed research program is the rational design of non-metallic and in part cooperative catalysis regimes as enabling technologies for the electrophilic activation of non-aromatic carbon–carbon multiple- and carbon-chalcogen single bonds to facilitate a wide and diverse array of heretofore unprecedented oxidative coupling-, addition-, and rearrangement reactions. To demonstrate its utility in a superordinate context, this methodological concept will be applied in highly modular enantioselective syntheses of biologically relevant polyketide natural products.
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