In future, inexpensive and bio-compatible main group metals could replace expensive and toxic transition metals during catalytic processes. Chemists at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have now demonstrated that imine hydrogenation is possible using calcium instead of precious metals. Catalytic conversion of imines to amines is an important process in producing fine chemicals, especially in the pharmaceutical industry. The results have now been published in the journal ‘Nature Catalysis’ (DOI: 0.1038/s41929-017-0006-0).
Platinum has been used for over two hundred years as a catalyst for inert materials. It is an excellent catalyst, as it can split molecules of hydrogen, oxygen and other gases into single atoms.
Today, for example, platinum is used as an oxidation catalyst in vehicles, for manufacturing nitric acid and for treating cancer. However, platinum has serious disadvantages. In terms of its molecular mass, this precious metal is almost twice as expensive as gold, there are only a few deposits on Earth, and platinum salts can be highly toxic as they can accumulate in DNA strands.
Researchers all over the world are therefore looking for cost-effective and safe alternatives to catalytic converters made of so-called transition metals that include palladium, rhodium and iridium as well as platinum.
Promising: Catalysis with calcium
Chemists at FAU have now come significantly closer to achieving this. In their experiments, they demonstrated that imine hydrogenation is also possible with calcium instead of precious metals using comparably low technical outlay and surprisingly low pressures of up to one bar.
Imines are organic carbon-nitrogen compounds that are converted to amines by catalytic adsorption of hydrogen atoms, a process that is important for the pharmaceutical industry in particular. ‘We were really surprised at how well imine hydrogenation works with calcium,’ says Prof. Dr. Sjoerd Harder, Chair of Inorganic and Organometallic Chemistry. ‘Calcium is obviously a much better catalyst than we had previously thought’.
Cost-effective, bio-compatible and atom-efficient
Like magnesium, calcium is one of the so-called alkaline earth metals. As these early main group metals are available all over the world and are easy to extract, they are very inexpensive and their price stays stable. In terms of its molecular mass, calcium is 5000 times cheaper than platinum and even 11000 times cheaper than rhodium.
And, in contrast to transition metals, calcium has a particularly high bio-compatibility. ‘Calcium is completely harmless,’ says Sjoerd Harder. ‘It can be found in many organisms, in humans, for example, in bones and teeth.’ In addition, the imine hydrogenation process with calcium catalysts that Harder describes is one hundred percent atom-efficient, as it does not generate any by-products.
Paradigm shift in organometallic chemistry
The researchers’ findings could result in a paradigm shift in organometallic catalysis. Sjoerd Harder and his departmental staff have dedicated themselves to researching the full application potential of alkaline earth metals in complex catalysis processes and successively replacing established transition metals in these processes.
The research findings have been published under the title ‘Imine hydrogenation with simple alkaline earth metal catalysts’ in the journal ‘Nature Catalysis’, which is part of the renowned ‘Nature’ group.
Prof. Dr. Sjoerd Harder
Chair of Inorganic and Organometallic Chemistry
Phone: +49 9131 8527350
Dr. Susanne Langer | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Biophysicists reveal how optogenetic tool works
29.05.2020 | Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology
Mapping immune cells in brain tumors
29.05.2020 | University of Zurich
In living cells, enzymes drive biochemical metabolic processes enabling reactions to take place efficiently. It is this very ability which allows them to be used as catalysts in biotechnology, for example to create chemical products such as pharmaceutics. Researchers now identified an enzyme that, when illuminated with blue light, becomes catalytically active and initiates a reaction that was previously unknown in enzymatics. The study was published in "Nature Communications".
Enzymes: they are the central drivers for biochemical metabolic processes in every living cell, enabling reactions to take place efficiently. It is this very...
Early detection of tumors is extremely important in treating cancer. A new technique developed by researchers at the University of California, Davis offers a significant advance in using magnetic resonance imaging to pick out even very small tumors from normal tissue. The work is published May 25 in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.
researchers at the University of California, Davis offers a significant advance in using magnetic resonance imaging to pick out even very small tumors from...
Microelectronics as a key technology enables numerous innovations in the field of intelligent medical technology. The Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering IBMT coordinates the BMBF cooperative project "I-call" realizing the first electronic system for ultrasound-based, safe and interference-resistant data transmission between implants in the human body.
When microelectronic systems are used for medical applications, they have to meet high requirements in terms of biocompatibility, reliability, energy...
Thomas Heine, Professor of Theoretical Chemistry at TU Dresden, together with his team, first predicted a topological 2D polymer in 2019. Only one year later, an international team led by Italian researchers was able to synthesize these materials and experimentally prove their topological properties. For the renowned journal Nature Materials, this was the occasion to invite Thomas Heine to a News and Views article, which was published this week. Under the title "Making 2D Topological Polymers a reality" Prof. Heine describes how his theory became a reality.
Ultrathin materials are extremely interesting as building blocks for next generation nano electronic devices, as it is much easier to make circuits and other...
Scientists took a leukocyte as the blueprint and developed a microrobot that has the size, shape and moving capabilities of a white blood cell. Simulating a blood vessel in a laboratory setting, they succeeded in magnetically navigating the ball-shaped microroller through this dynamic and dense environment. The drug-delivery vehicle withstood the simulated blood flow, pushing the developments in targeted drug delivery a step further: inside the body, there is no better access route to all tissues and organs than the circulatory system. A robot that could actually travel through this finely woven web would revolutionize the minimally-invasive treatment of illnesses.
A team of scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems (MPI-IS) in Stuttgart invented a tiny microrobot that resembles a white blood cell...
19.05.2020 | Event News
07.04.2020 | Event News
06.04.2020 | Event News
29.05.2020 | Life Sciences
29.05.2020 | Physics and Astronomy
29.05.2020 | Life Sciences