Designing effective ‘frustrated Lewis pair’ hydrogenation catalysts
The past decade has seen the subject of transition metal-free catalytic hydrogenation develop incredibly rapidly, transforming from a largely hypothetical possibility to a well-established field that can be applied to the reduction of a diverse variety of functional groups under mild conditions. This remarkable change is principally attributable to the development of so-called ‘frustrated Lewis pairs’: unquenched combinations of bulky Lewis acids and bases whose dual reactivity can be exploited for the facile activation of otherwise inert chemical bonds. While a number of comprehensive reviews into frustrated Lewis pair chemistry have been published in recent years, this tutorial review aims to provide a focused guide to the development of efficient FLP hydrogenation catalysts, through identification and consideration of the key factors that govern their effectiveness. Following discussion of these factors, their importance will be illustrated using a case study from our own research, namely the development of FLP protocols for successful hydrogenation of aldehydes and ketones, and for related moisture-tolerant hydrogenation.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Primer