Since the year 2000, when we published our
first two papers on homogeneous gold catalysis (Hashmi ASK, et
al., "A new gold-catalyzed C-C bond formation," Angew. Chem. Int.
Ed. 39: 2285-88, 2000; Hashmi ASK, et al., "Highly Selective
Gold-Catalyzed Arene Synthesis," J. Am. Chem. Soc. 122: 11553-54,
2000), this area has become quite a hot spot for catalysis research. There
had been previous work by others, but for unknown reasons this never
initiated a broad use of gold complexes as catalysts.
Since 2000, homogeneous gold catalysis of
organic reactions has experienced an exponential growth and now, chemists
working in homogeneous catalysis almost routinely consider gold complexes
in their investigation. This is reflected by the fact that the two initial
papers mentioned above now have current Web of
Science® totals of 226 and 130 citations,
describe a new discovery, methodology, or synthesis of
This review covers homogeneous gold
catalysis from its early beginnings and lists references up to mid-2007.
Due to the enormous growth of this area, our review is probably the last
comprehensive one. In the future, probably only certain aspects will be
summarized in reviews.
summarize the significance of your paper in layman's
"In the beginning, it was difficult to convince
other chemists that our findings were of a broad
scope and not singularities."
Catalysis is an essential part of modern
chemistry, more than 80% of all chemicals produced in industry are based on
catalytic reactions. Catalysis is one of the most important principles of
green chemistry and catalytic conversion of renewables might be the
foundation of future chemical production, a key technology which is
essential for our modern society.
For the formation of catalysts, nature
offers only a little over 100 chemical elements. Thus, it is amazing that
for a long time one of these chemical elements, namely gold, was neglected
in the search for new and selective catalysts. The paper describes the
early efforts in gold catalysis and the intense new developments since
2000, which resulted in numerous new and previously unknown catalyzed
How did you
become involved in this research, and were there any problems along the
Our initial finding was based on the concept
that gold complexes should be good catalysts for nucleophilic addition
reactions. After having some success, we checked the literature more
closely and became aware that the element gold had been investigated in
homogenous catalysis only to a small extent. In the beginning, it was
difficult to convince other chemists that our findings were of a broad
scope and not singularities. Now, we cannot complain about a lack of
intelligent and creative competitors.
Where do you
see your research leading in the future?
Toward a combination of gold catalysis and
an increasing use of renewable resources.
Prof. Dr. A. Stephen K. Hashmi
Chair for Organic Chemistry
Heidelberg, Germany Web