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Cooperative Au catalysis with chemically non-innocent ligands.

Project description

A new gold standard in catalysts for known transformations and new reactivities

Synthetic chemistry plays a critical role in synthesising both naturally occurring compounds of commercial relevance and synthesising new and tailor-made molecules with specific functions. Chemists use building blocks from which they can break bonds, remove certain groups, and add others much like a child playing with Legos. However, unlike these easy 'transformations', bond-breaking and -making often rely on catalysis. The EU-funded Au-MLC project will explore a promising yet unexplored catalytic process harnessing the proven ability of gold to promote chemical transformations. The team will deliver several catalysts and highlight their use in novel sequential reactions.


Gold catalysis has gathered increasing attention from the synthetic community during the last decades, due to the remarkable ability of Au centres to promote chemical transformations. Typically, gold catalysis is based on its peculiar properties as a Lewis acid, that make it very well suited for the activation of unsaturated bonds. On the other hand, the use of gold in more sophisticated processes, such as cooperative catalysis, is at its pioneering stage, and only few examples of these strategies are currently known. Metal-Ligand Cooperation strategies (MLC) are an emerging tool in homogeneous catalysis, based on the interplay between the metal centre and the non-innocent (bifunctional) ligand. This synergy vastly enhances the performances of known transformations, and even enables new sets of reactivities. MLC has been applied to many metal centres, often with spectacular results; Au-MLC strategies, however, are unknown to date. This project focuses on the development of a family of novel Au(III) complexes bearing Brønsted basic, non-innocent pincer ligands characteristics. Their fundamental study will be performed, assessing their Lewis acidity (especially in the Pearson HSAB scale), their Brønsted basicity, and their stoichiometric interaction with X–H bonds. Based on these results, their use as bifunctional Lewis-acid catalysts will be explored for the electrophilic activation of alkynes, carbonyl compounds, and alcohols. The design and development of sequential reactions involving the bifunctional gold catalysts obtained in the context of this project will be the ultimate, most ambitious goal of this action.



Net EU contribution
€ 184 707,84
Rue michel ange 3
75794 Paris

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Ile-de-France Ile-de-France Paris
Activity type
Research Organisations
Other funding
€ 0,00