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Shedding light on catalyst systems for a brighter future with green oxidation chemistry

Final Report Summary - SOLCAT (Shedding light on catalyst systems for a brighter future with green oxidation chemistry)

"SOLCAT - Shedding light on catalyst systems towards a bright future for green oxidation chemistry" aimed to achieve sustainability in chemical synthesis through the use of new methods and replacements for unsustainable existing methodologies using environmentally benign, atom- and energy-efficient processes that do not rely on toxic/precious metals. We focused on the development of new sustainable and environmentally benign methodologies for selective oxidative transformations based on primarily first row transition metals using H2O2 and on the tools required to obtain kinetic and mechanistic information that can further method development, in particular the use of online reaction monitoring with Raman spectroscopy and flow chemistry. The overall aim was to achieve selectivity and reactivity under mild, atom efficient conditions using non-toxic catalysts and was achieved by use mechanistic investigations in parallel with the development of synthetic methodologies to provide an optimum combination of distinct skill sets towards a common goal.

The program involved five distinct but synergistic research lines aimed at expanding the repertoire of selective methods available for catalytic organic oxidative functional group transformations with the key goal of sustainability in chemical synthesis through atom efficiency and selectivity. Furthermore, a systems approach was taken in mechanistic studies where understanding the role(s) played by each reaction component involved, including metals, ligands, oxidant, solvent, additives, substrates and product(s), was central. The development of new techniques and approaches to mechanistic studies and reaction monitoring, including Raman detection in flow reactors and UV Raman spectroscopy was integral. The major success of the program was the development of new methodolgies for selective oxidation of alkenes to epoxides, syn-diols and beta-amino- an hydroxy aldehydes of importance in both bulk fine chemical production and synthetic chemistry. This success was built upon through mechanistic studies which highlight novel modes of action that had not earlier been considered and provide an excellent starting point for further catalyst discovery and development.