Replacing noble metal-based homogeneous catalysts with base metal counterparts such as iron-based catalysts has attracted a lot of research interest. In addition to the low cost associated with the high abundance of iron, iron-based catalysts are potentially less toxic and more environmentally friendly than their noble metal counterparts. Moreover, the use of open-shell iron centers can potentially result in lower activation barriers and can invoke one-electron processes that are less prevalent in noble metal chemistry. While Nature uses iron-containing metalloenzymes extensively toward catalytic reactions, several applications of iron catalysis are emerging in organic synthesis as well. This lecture highlights a few recent results from our adventure with iron-based reactivity chemistry and catalysis, including alkyne dimerization,1 small molecule binding,2 and potential metal-alkylidene chemistry.3
1. Q. Liang, K. M., Osten, D. Song Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2017, 56, 6317-6320.
2. Q. Liang, D. Song Inorg. Chem. 2017, 56, 11956-11970.
3. Q. Liang, A. Salmon, P. J. Kim, L. Yan, D. Song J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2018, 140, 1263-1266.