One of the central
challenges of the 21 century is the preservation of
the natural resources of our planet for future generations. More than
ever, scientists and engineers are in demand of advancing ecologically
and economically sustainable processes. The
development of chemical transformations, based on ecologically benign
starting materials and catalysts, represents a valuable contribution.
Opportunities with a New Calcium
Even though they are
metals, the catalytic activity of early main group metals such
as lithium, potassium, magnesium and calcium remains hitherto almost
unexplored. Engaging the reactivity of these metals, our research focuses on the
development of new organic reactions, to ultimately provide a
valuable and sustainable
alternative to transition metal catalysts. In addition, the unknown
potential of these new
catalysts might enable the development of new reaction
Direct Transformation of Nitro Groups
Electrophilic nitrogen reagents have become increasingly popular in many areas of chemistry. In these, a N-X bond (X: O, S, halogen, etc.) realizes the Umpolung of the nitrogen's natural nucleophilic character. These reagents have to be premade in multi-step syntheses. Nitro groups are one of the most common commercially available sources of N-containing building blocks, but their high oxidation state makes them unreactive for N-functionalization.
Therefore, we realized a partial in-situ reduction of nitro groups to electrophilic nitrogen reagents with a mild and readily available combination of B2pin2 and zinc organyls. This strategy hits two birds with one stone: The synthesis of the electrophilic nitrogen reagent is unnecessary, and nitro compounds are directly transformed into a functionalized amine without the detour to the amine.