The development of sustainable chemical processes is one of the most important features in modern chemistry. It has become a worldwide key research area to provide solutions to important society demands by optimizing the use of natural resources and minimizing waste and environmental impact. Among the relevant methods toward achieving sustainable chemical processes, catalysis represents a key and central approach. In this context, our research program is dedicated to the development, understanding and application of new methods to achieve more efficient and sustainable organic transformations using both organocatalysis and metal catalysis tools.
In the last few years, catalyzed selective C–H bond functionalization reactions have attracted great interest, since they avoid the prefunctionalization and transmetallation step of the classical coupling methods. Despite the enormous advances already achieved, there are still some unsolved issues in terms of selectivity, substrate scope (specially for C(sp3)–H bonds) and asymmetric reactions, limiting their real applicability. Our group is contributing to this field by developing new selective C–H bond functionalization reactions and applying them to the synthesis of interesting molecules.
We have recently introduced the use of TEMPO oxoammoinum salts as mild and efficient oxidants for coupling reactions of C(sp3)-H bonds with enolizable C-nucleophiles such as malonates, β-ketoesters, β-nitroketones, simple alkyl or α,β-unsaturated aldehydes and olefins
Current studies in our group are focussed on broadening the C(sp3)-H functionalization scope by employing various oxidation-systems and "unusual" nucleophiles towards the development on novel tandem reactions.
One of the other main program in our research group focuses on the identification of highly efficient and easily accessible new H-bond donor organocatalysts based on C-H bonds and their application in anion-binding catalysis. For that reason we have utilized the well-establish and robust “click”-chemistry: Huisgen 1,3-dipolar cycloaddition. Therefore, new bis- and oligo-1,2,3-triazole derivatives have been designed and successfully applied in organocatalysis, constituting the first example of anion-binding catalysis based only in C-H bonds as relatively very weak hydrogen-donors compared to the well-established N-H donors such as (thio)ureas. These initial results open new possibilities in this emerging area of catalysis based in weak intermolecular interactions, and enantioselective transformations are currently being developed in our research group.
Enantioselective Anion-Binding Catalysis:
We are also involved in the development of catalytic asymmetric C–C bond formation reactions towards the synthesis of a variety of important synthetic intermediates or bioactive heterocycles by means of non-covalent organocatalysis. One approach we are embracing is the use of bifunctional catalysts such as cinchona-thiourea for the construction of different series of chiral heterocyclic cores such as cyclic nitrones, isoindolinones or 7-membered ring benzoxa- and benzazepines with known or potential bioactive properties.