A Caltech Library Service

The Design and Synthesis of a True, Heterogeneous, Asymmetric Catalyst


Wan, Kam To (1994) The Design and Synthesis of a True, Heterogeneous, Asymmetric Catalyst. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/6m3g-3y70.


This work describes the design and synthesis of a true, heterogeneous, asymmetric catalyst. The catalyst consists of a thin film that resides on a high-surface- area hydrophilic solid and is composed of a chiral, hydrophilic organometallic complex dissolved in ethylene glycol. Reactions of prochiral organic reactants take place predominantly at the ethylene glycol-bulk organic interface.

The synthesis of this new heterogeneous catalyst is accomplished in a series of designed steps. A novel, water-soluble, tetrasulfonated 2,2'-bis (diphenylphosphino)-1,1'-binaphthyl (BINAP-4S0_3Na) is synthesized by direct sulfonation of 2,2'-bis(diphenylphosphino)-1,1'-binaphthyl (BINAP). The rhodium (I) complex of BINAP-4SO_3Na is prepared and is shown to be the first homogeneous catalyst to perform asymmetric reductions of prochiral 2-acetamidoacrylic acids in neat water with enantioselectivities as high as those obtained in non-aqueous solvents. The ruthenium (II) complex, [Ru(BINAP-4SO_3Na)(benzene)Cl]Cl is also synthesized and exhibits a broader substrate specificity as well as higher enantioselectivities for the homogeneous asymmetric reduction of prochiral 2-acylamino acid precursors in water. Aquation of the ruthenium-chloro bond in water is found to be detrimental to the enantioselectivity with some substrates. Replacement of water by ethylene glycol results in the same high e.e's as those found in neat methanol. The ruthenium complex is impregnated onto a controlled pore-size glass CPG-240 by the incipient wetness technique. Anhydrous ethylene glycol is used as the immobilizing agent in this heterogeneous catalyst, and a non-polar 1:1 mixture of chloroform and cyclohexane is employed as the organic phase.

Asymmetric reduction of 2-(6'-methoxy-2'-naphthyl)acrylic acid to the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agent, naproxen, is accomplished with this heterogeneous catalyst at a third of the rate observed in homogeneous solution with an e.e. of 96% at a reaction temperature of 3°C and 1,400 psig of hydrogen. No leaching of the ruthenium complex into the bulk organic phase is found at a detection limit of 32 ppb. Recycling of the catalyst is possible without any loss in enantioselectivity. Long-term stability of this new heterogeneous catalyst is proven by a self-assembly test. That is, under the reaction conditions, the individual components of the present catalytic system self-assemble into the supported-catalyst configuration.

The strategies outlined here for the design and synthesis of this new heterogeneous catalyst are general, and can hopefully be applied to the development of other heterogeneous, asymmetric catalysts.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Chemistry
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Chemistry and Chemical Engineering
Major Option:Chemistry
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Davis, Mark E.
Thesis Committee:
  • Davis, Mark E. (chair)
  • Gray, Harry B.
  • Anson, Fred C.
  • McKoy, Basil Vincent
  • Labinger, Jay A.
Defense Date:17 May 1994
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:05152013-113928711
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:7712
Deposited On:15 May 2013 22:35
Last Modified:20 Apr 2021 22:54

Thesis Files

PDF - Final Version
See Usage Policy.


Repository Staff Only: item control page