Organic Synthesis and Catalysis
Our research is underpinned by high level expertise in synthetic organic chemistry, organometallic chemistry, homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysis, biocatalysis, photocatalysis, supramolecular chemistry, continuous flow chemistry, physical organic chemistry, computation, and advanced NMR spectroscopy. There is an increasing emphasis on using the Department’s expertise in advanced automation to accelerate reaction discovery and development.
The invention of catalytic methods for the wider utilisation of feedstock chemicals is a major focus of our current activities. Processes are being developed for the valorisation of biomass,1 and for the catalytic up-conversion of alkanes and arenes.2,3 Advanced NMR techniques are developed to facilitate mechanistic understanding,4,5 and these have addressed industrial problems; for example, in the implementation of the Lucite ALPHA Process, a clean method for the production of methyl methacrylate.
The cluster’s efforts to streamline fine chemical synthesis involve the design of more productive and greener methods for accessing high value building blocks. Recent highlights include catalytic methods for the direct utilisation of olefins,6,7 and new C-H activation based cross-couplings.8,9 In addition to building block assembly processes, we also develop new methods to synthesise challenging or unusual molecular scaffolds that are of relevance to drug design.10,11 Liverpool Chirochem, a spinout company specialising in the synthesis of chiral building blocks and privileged scaffolds, is based in the department.
The cluster’s synthetic expertise is applied to the total synthesis of important natural products, biological chemistry and drug design.12-14 Our activities also cross over into materials chemistry and related areas, including the synthesis of well-defined organic materials,15 polymer mechanochemistry,16 molecular wires17 and the production of bioplastics.18
Superscript numbers refer to publications