Limited natural resources and an increasing demand for enantiomerically pure compounds render catalysis and especially heterogeneous asymmetric catalysis a key technology. The field has rapidly advanced from the initial use of chiral biopolymers, such as silk, as a support for metal catalysts to the modern research areas. Mesoporous supports, noncovalent immobilization, metal–organic catalysts, chiral modifiers: many areas are rapidly evolving. This Review shows that these catalysts have more to them than facile separation or recycling. Better activities and selectivities can be obtained than with the homogeneous catalyst and novel, efficient reaction mechanisms can be employed. Especially fascinating is the outlook for highly ordered metal–organic catalysts that might allow a rational design, synthesis, and the unequivocal structural characterization to give tailor-made catalysts.
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