New Research


Creation of Well-defined Organometallic Complexes for Various Organic Transformations

Catalytic Asymmetric Hydrogenation of Unsaturated Organic Compounds by Chiral Metal Catalysts

Professor Kazushi Mashima, Associate Professor Takashi Ohshima, Assistant Professor Hayato Tsurugi

Artificial, homogeneous metal catalysts are not only scientifically functional models of these metalloenzymes but also practical tools as industrial transformation of any organic compounds and materials. Development of new powerful catalysts is one of current requirements as environmentally benign processes and green chemistry. In our group, design and development of artificial catalysts including nano-scale metal cluster catalysts are focused.
Asymmetric hydrogenation by using chiral transition metal complexes represents one of the cleanest and most environmentally benign processes available for producing optically pure organic compounds. A variety of chiral building blocks is synthesized by using chiral rhodium, iridium or ruthenium complexes, and some of them are used in the industrial production of enantiomerically-enriched compounds. Using cationic rhodium catalysis, piperitenone was successfully converted to (+)-pulegone in 98% ee with extremely high catalyst turnover (S/C 50 000), allowing for an atom-economical synthesis of (-)-menthol by successive highly diastereoselective catalytic hydrogenations.
Further studies on the development of an environmentally benign process are ongoing in our group. Please visit our web site for details.

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