Single enantiomer using copper catalyst

12-06-2009: Chemists in Switzerland show that a racemic mixture can be transformed into one enantiomer, using a copper catalyst.

The concept of the dynamic kinetic asymmetric transformation in allylic substitutions represents an efficient methodology for transforming a racemic mixture into one product.

Alexandre Alexakis and Jean-Baptiste Langlois from the University of Geneva, report the first dynamic kinetic asymmetric transformation in copper catalysed allylic alkylations.

Significantly, this is the first example of using a copper catalyst for this transformation and it could lead to further insights into the mechanisms of other copper catalysed reactions.

With further research the enantioselectivities of these systems could be improved and their application towards useful chiral synthons could be demonstrated suggested Alexakis.

‘There are still many interesting challenges in copper catalysed asymmetric transformations, as in asymmetric synthesis in general,’ says Alexakis. Work is underway in his team to explore other copper catalysed reactions.

Original article: Jean-Baptiste Langlois and Alexandre Alexakis; "Dynamic kinetic asymmetric transformation in copper catalyzed allylic alkylation"; Chem. Commun. 2009

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