Feb 15, 2000

Developing a chiral toolbox for asymmetric catalytic reactions

X Zhang


During the last several decades, chemists have made major progress in discovering man-made catalysts to perform challenging asymmetric transformations. The research in our group addresses fundamental and practical problems in this field by developing a diverse set of chiral ligands that combine with transition metals to form highly enantioselective catalysts. Families of tridentate ligands have been developed for the enantioselective hydrogenation of unfunctionalized substrates. In addition, we have developed several new bidentate phosphine ligands for asymmetric catalysis. The common feature of these ligands are that they contain rigid aromatic backbones or ring structures which restrict conformational flexibility of the ligands. Several asymmetric reactions have been studied: asymmetric hydrogenation of functionalized substrates such as N-acylaminoacrylic acids, enamides and enol acetates; asymmetric hydrogenation of simple ketones, and imines; and asymmetric carbon-carbon bond forming reactions. In addition, we have designed and synthesized several novel chiral monophosphines for asymmetric catalytic reactions. Transition metal complexes with these monophosphines have also been developed for asymmetric transformations.

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