Gold-catalyzed oxidation in organic synthesis: a promise kept
An overview of Prof. Michele Rossi's recent research and related scientific context is presented, dealing with liquid and gas phase oxidation of some organic compounds by gold catalysis. The application of mono- and bimetallic gold nanoparticles as an aid for organic synthesis has been mainly devoted to the aerobic oxidation of alcohols and aldehydes, as well as to the new synthesis of conducting polymers, thus demonstrating the superior performance of gold in terms of activity, selectivity and durability in comparison with traditional Pd and Pt catalysts. Starting from the observation that oxygen activation towards organic compounds occurs mainly in the presence of nanometric gold clusters, the outstanding properties of colloidal “naked” particles are also discussed. Thorough kinetic studies suggest models for interpreting the aerobic oxidation of glucose, thereby shedding light on the molecular mechanism, whilst the perspective for industrial applications of supported gold catalysts shows how the “yellow metal” is more than a promise.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Heterogeneous catalysis for fine chemicals