• alkene ligands;
  • cyclization;
  • electrophilic addition;
  • homogeneous catalysis;
  • platinum


The electrophilic activation of alkenes by transition-metal catalysts is a fundamental step in a rapidly growing number of catalytic processes. Although palladium is the best known metal for this purpose, the special properties of its third-row cousin platinum (strong metal–ligand bonds and slow substitution kinetics) have enabled the development of transformations that are initiated by addition to the C[DOUBLE BOND]C bonds by protic carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and phosphorus nucleophiles, as well as alkene or arene nucleophiles. Additionally, reactivity profiles, which are often unique to platinum, provide wholly new reaction products. This Review concerns platinum-catalyzed electrophilic alkene activation reactions, with a special emphasis on the mechanistic properties of known systems, on the differences between platinum and palladium catalysts, and on the prospects for the development of new systems.