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Catalytic oxidation of industrially important organic substrates using molecular oxygen and transition-metal oxo complexes


Research objectives and content
Over recent years the use of transition-metal oxo complexes to effect catalytic regioselective homogeneous oxidations has become increasingly important. Recently in the group of Osborn the catalytic oxidation of primary alcohols, under one atmosphere of dioxygen, to aldehydes has been achieved selectively and quantitatively by a transition-metal oxo complex with a second metal complex capable of activating dioxygen. This approach can be expanded to other oxidation processes such as epoxidation and dihydroxylation of alkenes. This project seeks to establish in detail the potential of this approach by evaluating:
(i) the range and limitations of their use (e.g. tolerance or oxidation of other functional groups)
(ii) the development of the most efficient catalyst combinations (iii) effect of ancillary ligands
(iv) effect of dioxygen activating complex
(v) the nature of the intermediates involved and the mechanism of these reactions
Training content (objective, benefit and expected impact)
This study seeks to increase the knowledge of the applicant, by the use of new synthetic and spectroscopic techniques and to apply pure academic research to an industrial problem using state-of-the-art catalytic methods. Current homogeneous oxidations used in industry are extremely inefficient and wasteful. Early indications are that the potential applications and possible economic advantages of this proposal are enormous.
Links with industry / industrial relevance (22)
This research will be of importance to academic chemists and the process and speciality chemical industries. The regioselective and qualitative yields anticipated with this system may revolutionise industrial homogeneous oxidations of organic substrates. Since the project is interesting from an industrial point of view, cooperation from relevant companies on a non-financial basis is being sought.

Funding Scheme

RGI - Research grants (individual fellowships)


Institut Le Bel, Rue Blaise Pascal 4
67070 Strasbourg

Participants (1)

Not available
United Kingdom