Development of metal catalyzed homogeneous, phase transfer, and heterogeneous mediated oxidation, reduction, carbonylation and cyclization reactions. These processes are being applied to the synthesis of compounds of value to the petrochemical and/or pharmaceutical industries. Ionic liquids are useful solvents, and sometimes promoters, for some of these reactions. For example, the asymmetric synthesis of -lactams by rhodium (I) catalysts is a remarkable example of a regio, stereo, and enantiospecific reaction.
Ring expansion-carbonylation reactions have considerable scope in terms of heteroatom and ring size. Novel palladium catalyzed, stereospecific cycloaddition reactions of heterocumulenes (e.g. carbodiimides, isocyanates) and aziridines or azetidines leads to 5- and 6-membered ring heterocycles difficult or impossible to synthesize by other means. Using chiral ligands results in the formation of products in 88-99 %ee. Recently, dendrimer-metal complexes, anchored to silica, have been found to be excellent, recyclable catalysts for the hydroformylation of olefins. The length of the spacer group in the dendrimer has a significant impact on the activity and recyclability of the dendrimer metal complex. Finally, dendronized and non-dendronized magnetic nanoparticle metal complexes are excellent catalysts for highly regioselective reactions