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02/21/19

Researchers successfully apply multi-substrate screening approach to identify a broadly applicable catalyst

Researchers successfully apply multi-substrate screening approach to identify a broadly applicable catalyst

When developing a synthetic method, chemists generally focus on the transformation of a single substrate, and only subsequently examine the scope of the method. However, this approach regularly leads to reaction conditions only capable of transforming substrates resembling the structure of the optimized model substrate.

A team from the Department of Homogeneous Catalysis at the Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung has now developed  a concept originally proposed by Henri Kagan: the multi-substrate screening approach. Here, a collection of structurally different substrates is evaluated simultaneously in a single reaction vessel. Their multi-substrate screening approach not only provided information on the substrate scope at a much earlier stage of method development, but also led to a broadly applicable synthetic methodology. The team identified a highly efficient and stereoselective imidodiphosphorimidate organocatalyst for scalable Diels-Alder reactions of cyclopentadiene with different classes of α,β-unsaturated aldehydes.

Ben List and his team describe their success in the publication "A multi-substrate screening approach for the identification of a broadly applicable Diels-Alder catalyst", recently published in Nature Communications.