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Acc Chem Res. 2001 Jan;34(1):18-29.

The development of L2X2Ru=CHR olefin metathesis catalysts: an organometallic success story.

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  • 1Arnold and Mabel Beckman Laboratory of Chemical Synthesis, Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California 91125, USA.


In recent years, the olefin metathesis reaction has attracted widespread attention as a versatile carbon-carbon bond-forming method. Many new applications have become possible because of major advances in catalyst design. State-of-the-art ruthenium catalysts are not only highly active but also compatible with most functional groups and easy to use. This Account traces the ideas and discoveries that were instrumental in the development of these catalysts, with particular emphasis on (PCy3)2Cl2Ru=CHPh and its derivatives. The discussion includes an analysis of trends in catalyst activity, a description of catalysts coordinated with N-heterocyclic carbene ligands, and an overview of ongoing work to improve the activity, stability, and selectivity of this family of L2X2Ru=CHR complexes.

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