Catalysis and organometallic chemistry
Catalysis, whether homogeneous (this WP) or heterogeneous (addressed in cluster, surfaces and solids) is a key to future technologies. New catalytic processes provide efficient, selective, and environmentally benign production of essential chemicals and materials. The CTCC will focus on two areas of homogeneous catalysis that receive considerable attention today.
Organocatalysis (where the catalyst is a tailor-designed organic species) has quickly become an important tool in synthetic organic chemistry. The CTCC will focus on enantioselectivity in organocatalyzed reactions involving alpha,beta-unsaturated aldehydes and ketones. Proline-based protocols for catalysis of C-C bond forming reactions at such compounds constitute efficient strategies for the design of new compounds for pharmaceutical use. Accurate theoretical modeling requires that all side groups and substituents, as well as solvent effects, are accounted for. This not only necessitates the use of methods developed for large systems, but also that the dynamical aspects of the problem are taken into account.
Metal complex catalysis is a key element of many large-scale processes that are of importance to the petrochemical industry. This is particularly relevant for Norway with its vast oil and gas resources. Mats Tilset has considerable experience in investigating hydrocarbon C-H activation at Pt complexes. In the CTCC, a number of selectivity issues that are important will be addressed, such as the factors that govern the selectivity of the metal toward primary, secondary and tertiary C-H bonds. Furthermore, the regioselectivity that is observed in the presence of functional groups must be understood. The effect of the reaction medium---vacuum and solvents of different polarities---will also be investigated. These activities are closely linked to activities in clusters, surfaces and solids.