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Bond activation and catalysis with low-valent aluminium (AlCat)
Start date: Mar 1, 2017, End date: Feb 28, 2022 PROJECT  FINISHED 

This project will develop the principles required to enable bond-modifying redox catalysis based on aluminium by preparing and studying new Al(I) compounds capable of reversible oxidative addition.Catalytic processes are involved in the synthesis of 75 % of all industrially produced chemicals, but most catalysts involved are based on precious metals such as rhodium, palladium or platinum. These metals are expensive and their supply limited and unstable; there is a significant need to develop the chemistry of non-precious metals as alternatives. On toxicity and abundance alone, aluminium is an attractive candidate. Furthermore, recent work, including in our group, has demonstrated that Al(I) compounds can perform a key step in catalytic cycles - the oxidative addition of E-H bonds.In order to realise the significant potential of Al(I) for transition-metal style catalysis we urgently need to:- establish the principles governing oxidative addition and reductive elimination reactivity in aluminium systems.- know how the reactivity of Al(I) compounds can be controlled by varying properties of ligand frameworks.- understand the onward reactivity of oxidative addition products of Al(I) to enable applications in catalysis. In this project we will:- Study mechanisms of oxidative addition and reductive elimination of a range of synthetically relevant bonds at Al(I) centres, establishing the principles governing this fundamental reactivity.- Develop new ligand frameworks to support of Al(I) centres and evaluate the effect of the ligand on oxidative addition/reductive elimination at Al centres.- Investigate methods for Al-mediated functionalisation of organic compounds by exploring the reactivity of E-H oxidative addition products with unsaturated organic compounds.
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