water-soluble organometallics; water-soluble ligand design and coordination chemistry; water-phase catalysis; biphasic systems; reaction mechanisms
After its discovery in the early 1980s and successful application on an industrial scale (SHOP and Ruhrchemie/Rhône-Poulenc processes), water phase and biphasic catalysis have been the subject of fundamental studies in a relatively limited number of research laboratories around the world, almost at a curiosity level. During the last 15 years, however, this topic has witnessed a true renaissance, mainly due to the increased attention of industry and academia to more environmentally friendly processes. Water is the green solvent par excellence, and a great deal of research has been carried out to convey the properties of known transition metal catalysts to their water-soluble analogs, maintaining high activities and selectivities. The keys to success have been, among others, the discovery of synthetic pathways to novel molecular and nanosized metal-based catalysts, new mechanistic insights in the role of water as non-innocent solvent, the identification of reaction pathways by experimental and theoretical methods, and the application of novel concepts for phase transfer agents in biphasic catalysis.
In this Session, top scientists active in the field will be selected to highlight the latest achievements in synthetic ligand and catalyst modifications, applications to selected substrate activation for green chemistry and energy storage, mechanistic studies, catalysis in water phase or biphasic systems.