1. Non-Covalent Interactions in Organocatalysis and Crystal Engineering
The area of homogeneous catalysis in synthetic organic chemistry has been dominated by the use of transition and non-transition metal complexes for over 50 years. However, within the last two decades, a completely different approach emerged using simple organic molecules as catalysts which created the field of metal-free catalysis, more commonly known as organocatalysis. Non-covalent interactions, in particular hydrogen bonding, played a key role in the development of this new exciting field and recently, hydrogen bonding and Brønsted acid catalysts have become essential components of organic chemists’ synthetic toolbox.
In our group, we will utilize various types of non-covalent interactions to tackle certain challenging problems of synthetic organic chemistry. Also, these interactions will be used in crystal engineering for the design and discovery of new two- and three-dimensional frameworks with targeted functions.
2. Green Chemistry – Biorenewable Chemicals & Eco-Friendly Synthetic Methods
“I believe all the known common organic transformations will be upgraded to catalytic processes.” (Angewandte Author Profile)
Professor Hisashi Yamamoto, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2013, 52, 5678.
Our planet faces serious problems related to environment, climate change and energy. While current efforts are mostly directed towards the area of biorenewable energy, chemistry has a lot to offer in a broader sense to provide solutions to different aspects of these environmental issues. These include the identification and manufacture of biomass-derived chemicals and conversion of these chemicals to value-added products in a green way as well as replacing the established chemical processes with less expensive and greener catalytic protocols.
Our research will focus on the development of new environmentally benign and cost-effective catalytic transformations using inexpensive, non-toxic and earth-abundant transition metals. We will also seek to discover and/or use biorenewable, green solvents for a broad range of synthetic transformations.