This person is known for their research into chiral organometallic complexes and their application in asymmetric catalysis.
This person discovered the atropisomeric chiral diphosphine, binap (2,2′-bis(diphenylphosphino)-1,1′-binaphthyl), and initially developed rhodium(I)/binap complexes (see below), which they demonstrated to be effective for asymmetric catalysis. But it was their discovery of ruthenium(II)/binap complexes that marked a major development in stereoselective organic chemistry.
This person is especially recognized for his work in asymmetric hydrogenation. Although, they were not the pioneer in this area, this person developed improved and more generally applicable catalysts, that is, the above-mentioned ruthenium(II)/binap complexes. In particular, this person developed highly chemoselective catalysts for the asymmetric hydrogenation of ketones and aldehydes and for the hydrogenation of carbon–carbon multiple bonds.
These catalysts are so effective that they have been used for asymmetric hydrogenation on an industrial scale, for example, the commercial synthesis of an anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial drugs.