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The University of Southampton

Research project: Design of Heterogenous Organocatalysts

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One of the known drawbacks in organocatalysis consist in the use of substechiometric quantities of the organocatalyst (20 mol%). This huge amount of catalysis presents several disadvantages such as purification steps to remove the catalyst and make the process more expensive if the catalyst cannot be recovered.

Supported DABCO
Supported DABCO

One of the possible avenues to solve this problem and diminish the environment and economic impact of organocatalysis consists in the anchorage of this catalysts in a solid support. Our group in collaboration with professor Raja’s group (a world leader in heterogenous catalysis) is design and develop a new series of supported organocatalysts that should be an effective alternative to the homogenous organocatalysts. Fruit of this collaboration we proceed to anchor organo Lewis base catalysts such DABCO in a mesoporous silica support. We have highlighted the efficacy of our design rationale and its amenability for tailoring the nature of the active site via meticulous choice of pore-aperture and hydrophobicity to create a superior heterogenised analogue for Michael addition and Baylis Hillman reactions. It is envisaged that this immobilization strategy could be rationally extended to the heterogenisation of a plethora of organocatalysts such as carbene1 or bronsted acid.2

Key Publications

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