Sunday, 19 May 2013

#chemclub Roundup 9

A quick round-up of posts to #chemclub from the past fortnight. Last week, #chemclub was featured at Grand CENtral - so hello to any new readers!

On the blogs, a few papers have been discussed in depth. At It's The Rheo Thing, John talks about the glass transition of Teflon, which turns out to be pretty involved. Both C&EN and In the Pipeline featured a recent Science paper about iron-catalysed C-H activation to form cyclic amines. Chemistry In Depth continue an ongoing step-by-step walk through Woodward's classic synthesis of strychnine. And at Chemically Cultured, Tom looks at the first article to grace the cover of Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. from 1977.

Onto some papers! First up, CoulombicExplosion shared a critical discussion of a recent paper by David Leigh. The original paper was in Science in January, and the highlight is in in Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. Leigh developed a sort of synthetic ribosome based on a rotaxane, an impressive example of molecular machinery.

Continuing the supramolecular theme, Vittorio shared a JACS paper. I thought this was pretty clever: the authors have effectively designed a buffer for an organocatalyst, which is effective over a concentration range of around two orders of magnitude. It'll be interesting to see where this might find application.

A paper from JACS which reports the capture of CO2 into C8-C14 primary alcohols by a Fischer-Tropsch-type process. The new catalyst reported here is not yet appropriate for industrial use, but that's clearly where the work is heading.

From Nature Chemistry is a perspective on C-H activation by Frank Glorius, with a focus on methods that allow the functionalisation of molecules late in synthesis. Spoiler: his concluding remarks are spot-on, calling for these methods to be tightened up for industrial use through lower catalyst load, elimination of excess reagent equivalents, and the use of milder conditions. Definitely worth a read.

Lee Cronin is at it again - bringing 3D printing to the lab. Here, functional components of a flow reactor are printed and used to carry out one or two synthetic steps, complete with in-line IR analysis. The chemistry demonstrated is imine formation, which can be followed by reduction by bolting on a second reactive module.  It's pleasingly accessible: the design software is freely available, the inert plastic is cheap, and printers are coming down in price every day.

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