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Putting the squeeze on frustrated Lewis Pairs

UEA chemists from Prof Wildgoose’s group in collaboration with Dr Andrew Ashley’s research team at Imperial College have reported a major advance in the field of frustrated Lewis pair catalysis: commercially available, water tolerant frustrated Lewis pairs that catalyse the metal-free hydrogenation of a number of important classes of chemical functional groups.

To date, frustrated Lewis pair chemistry has been severely hampered by the perception that these reactions are intolerant and highly sensitive to trace water. What this research demonstrates is that this limitation can be overcome simply by working at high pressure. This in turn allows reactions to be performed in commercial “wet” grades of solvent without the need for laborious drying of solvents or working under inert atmosphere containment systems. This is particularly relevant to industrial applications where high pressure reactions are commonplace, as both solvent and catalyst are commercially available and require no special handling or drying facilities.

D. J. Scott, T. R. Simmons, E. J. Lawrence, G. G. Wildgoose, M. J. Fuchter, A. E. Ashley, ACS Catalysis, 2015, 5, 5540-5544