University of Edinburgh
Joseph Black Building
David Brewster Road
0131 650 4795
The profound impact of organometallics on modern synthetic organic chemistry is indisputable. One of the key aims of the group is to use mechanistic insight (gained through a variety of modern physical-organic/inorganic techniques) to advance further the utility and application of organometallics - both as stoichiometric reagents and as catalysts – in synthetic organic chemistry. As such, we engage in a diverse range of activities in areas that include physical-organic chemistry, organic synthesis, organometallic and coordination chemistry.
We have made a number of fundamental contributions to the understanding of the mechanism by which main group reagents and homogeneous catalysts function, frequently resulting in the replacement of deep-seated mechanistic or structural dogma with simpler and more coherent explanations. Examples organtrifluoroborate solvolysis and coupling, asymmetric induction by the Trost ligand, ethylene acceleration in enyne metathesis, stereochemical pathways in Mo-catalysed allylation, and autocatalysis in the Baylis-Hillman reaction.
In parallel with this work we have applied mechanistic elucidation in the informed design and development of reactions and processes of utility to the synthetic chemist in academia and in the pharmaceutical and agrochemical industries.
Prime examples include a gold-catalysed direct arylation, a new reaction pathway for acceleration of amide solvolysis, ligand design for unprecedented enantioselectivity in imine allylation, the first catalysed diamination of alkenes, and new techniques for testing chiral catalysts in racemic form.