Phase-Transfer Activation of Transition Metal Catalysts. Academic Article uri icon


  • With metal-based catalysts, it is quite common that a ligand (L) must first dissociate from a catalyst precursor (L'n M-L) to activate the catalyst. The resulting coordinatively unsaturated active species (L'n M) can either back react with the ligand in a k-1 step, or combine with the substrate in a k2 step. When dissociation is not rate determining and k-1 [L] is greater than or comparable to k2 [substrate], this slows the rate of reaction. By introducing a phase label onto the ligand L and providing a suitable orthogonal liquid or solid phase, dramatic rate accelerations can be achieved. This phenomenon is termed "phase-transfer activation". In this Concept, some historical antecedents are reviewed, followed by successful applications involving fluorous/organic and aqueous/organic liquid/liquid biphasic catalysis, and liquid/solid biphasic catalysis. Variants that include a chemical trap for the phase-labeled ligands are also described.

published proceedings

  • Chemistry

altmetric score

  • 1

author list (cited authors)

  • Tuba, R., Xi, Z., Bazzi, H. S., & Gladysz, J. A.

citation count

  • 9

complete list of authors

  • Tuba, Robert||Xi, Zhenxing||Bazzi, Hassan S||Gladysz, John A

publication date

  • November 2015