Catalytic Revelation

Catalytic Revelation

Author: David Bradley

Grubbs-Hoveyda olefin metathesis is important in the industrial production of a wide range of products from pharmaceuticals to polymers. An academic collaboration with AstraZeneca, UK, scientists shows how the ruthenium-containing pre-catalyst is activated: It forms a complex in which the incoming olefin substrate and the outgoing alkoxy ligand are both tied to the ruthenium center. The rate-determining step in the catalytic mechanism turns out to be an interchange rather than a dissociative step.

Such insights might help in the optimization of reactions or the design of new catalysts.

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