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Nat Chem. 2010 Aug;2(8):615-21. doi: 10.1038/nchem.744. Epub 2010 Jul 23.

Supramolecular catalysis beyond enzyme mimics.

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Homogeneous and Supramolecular Catalysis, Van 't Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences, Nieuwe Achtergracht 166, 1018 WV Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Supramolecular catalysis - the assembly of catalyst species by harnessing multiple weak intramolecular interactions - has, until recently, been dominated by enzyme-inspired approaches. Such approaches often attempt to create an enzyme-like 'active site' and have concentrated on reactions similar to those catalysed by enzymes themselves. Here, we discuss the application of supramolecular assembly to the more traditional transition metal catalysis and to small-molecule organocatalysis. The modularity of self-assembled multicomponent catalysts means that a relatively small pool of catalyst components can provide rapid access to a large number of catalysts that can be evaluated for industrially relevant reactions. In addition, we discuss how catalyst-substrate interactions can be tailored to direct substrates along particular reaction paths and selectivities.

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