Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Chemists uncover new role of a key base in organic synthesis


An international team of chemists has discovered a new piece to the puzzle of how a powerful base used in organic synthesis, cesium carbonate, plays a pivotal role during a catalytic reaction.

The research, published by the Journal of the American Chemical Society, was led by Jamal Musaev, a theoretical chemist at Emory University, and Ken Itami, an experimental chemist from Nagoya University in Japan. Sun Yat-Sen University in Guangzhou, China, also contributed to the findings.

Many organic chemistry reactions are acid/base reactions, involving the exchange of positively charged hydrogen atoms. Acids donate the positively charged hydrogen and bases accept it.

The current research focused on the use of cesium carbonate as a base. Cesium carbonate has recently been observed to accelerate a particular class of catalytic reactions, a phenomenon termed the "cesium effect."

The use of cesium carbonate base and carboxylic acids co-catalysts have been shown to be critical in a number of recent carbon-hydrogen (C-H) bond functionalization reactions.

The full story behind the impact of this base was previously not clear. It was known that the cesium base removed hydrogen protons, or scavenged acidic acid, from the solution, and was also involved in the exchange of ligands during a reaction, but these two factors did not explain the acceleration seen.

This recent work offers a new explanation. The researchers found that cesium base can generate an aggregate state: The molecules come together creating a cluster that is actually the starting point for the catalytic reaction, and not the discreet carboxylic acids and carbonate complexes as was previously thought.

"One-by-one, we are identifying key components of catalytic reactions and then putting them all together," Musaev says. "It's difficult work, but important, because the more your understand the reaction the better you can predict ways to modify it and control it."

The findings about how the base acts in these reactions has the potential to impact the development of not just new C-H functionalization reactions, but the way that catalytic reactions in general are considered.


The collaboration of chemists from across three continents is a result of the Center for Selective C-H Functionalization (CCHF), an NSF National Center for Chemical Innovation headquartered at Emory.

C-H functionalization holds the potential to make organic synthesis faster, simpler and greener, and could open up new ways to develop drugs and other fine-chemical products.

The CCHF encompasses 15 top research universities from across the United States, and recently expanded to include institutes in Asia and Europe. The global network forged by the CCHF brings together leading players from around the world, representing the range of specialties that will be required to make the critical breakthroughs needed to bring C-H functionalization into the mainstream of chemical synthesis.

Megan McRainey | Eurek Alert!
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'
16.03.2018 | Emory Health Sciences

nachricht Scientists map the portal to the cell's nucleus
16.03.2018 | Rockefeller University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

Im Focus: ILA 2018: Laser alternative to hexavalent chromium coating

At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.

When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...

Im Focus: Radar for navigation support from autonomous flying drones

At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.

Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

International Virtual Reality Conference “IEEE VR 2018” comes to Reutlingen, Germany

08.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Wandering greenhouse gas

16.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

'Frequency combs' ID chemicals within the mid-infrared spectral region

16.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'

16.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>