Buchler Glossary

Enantioselective (Asymmetric) Catalysis

Although nature provides us with an ample source of enantiopure chiral starting materials, the structural diversity is limited, and the desire to create stereogenic centers has stimulated extensive research in respect of the synthesis of enantiopure compounds. Therefore lots of chiral catalysts have been developed to set up defined stereogenic centers. In particular, Cinchona alkaloid-based chiral catalysts play a central role in the development of chiral active ingredients in pharmaceuticals and agrochemicals. Enantioselective (asymmetric) catalysis has emerged as the most elegant and efficient technique to create a new stereogenic center with defined absolute configuration. It not only facilitates the creation of a chiral compound with high enantiomeric excess (ee) but also enables synthetic chemists to override the intrinsic diastereoselectivity of a molecule by proper choice of an enantioselective transformation. Today, enantioselective catalysis represents a major subsection of organic chemistry and continues to grow from year to year.

Hundreds of examples of enantioselective catalysis, broken down by different reaction categories, can be browsed in the free of charge Chiral Catalyst Database.

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