Boron-Enabled Geometric Isomerization of Alkenes via Selective Energy-Transfer Catalysis
Ryan Gilmour uses selective energy-transfer catalysis for the isomerization of alkenes.
Simple alkene fragments are important constituent building blocks in many biological processes where geometry often underpins function. Retinal (Vitamin A) is an excellent example where the geometric isomerization is the basis of the one-zero switch in human vision. Achieving spatiotemporal control over alkene geometry in a laboratory paradigm represents a fundamental yet significant challenge for the group of Professor Ryan Gilmour at the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster (Germany).
Professor Gilmour’s group has been exploring energy-transfer catalysis, which provides a potentially expansive solution to this fundamental problem in enabling readily accessible E-alkenes to be isomerized to their more challenging Z-forms. However, according to Professor Gilmour, these approaches come with some notable limitations, including the need for a bulky styrenyl chromophore to achieve efficient, selective energy transfer from an excited state photosensitizer to the substrate.
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