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Atom Economy – Principles and Some Examples

Part 1. Homogeneous Catalysis

  1. Audrey Moores

Published Online: 15 JUL 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9783527628698.hgc001

Handbook of Green Chemistry

Handbook of Green Chemistry

How to Cite

Moores, A. 2010. Atom Economy – Principles and Some Examples. Handbook of Green Chemistry. 1:1:1–15.

Author Information

  1. McGill University, Department of Chemistry, Montreal, Canada

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 JUL 2010


The concept of atom economy was introduced in the early 1990s by Trost and Sheldon to emphasize the importance of minimizing the waste created by chemical reactions. Atom economy can be defined as the reduction, if not the elimination, of all the atoms introduced in the process that do not end up in the desired product. This idea came together with a desire to be able to measure rationally the created waste and several criteria of atom economy were thus grafted. Since then, many new chemical reactions that can be called atom economical have been developed. In this chapter, the context, the principle, the criteria and the tool box of atom economy will be presented. A mini-review on atom economical processes involving C[BOND]H activation follows.


  • atom economy;
  • waste minimization;
  • C[BOND]H activation;
  • hydrogen transfer;
  • tandem reaction;
  • C[BOND]C coupling