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Keywords:

  • asymmetric catalysis;
  • density functional calculations;
  • hydrogenation;
  • iridium;
  • olefins

Abstract

Relatively air and moisture tolerant cationic iridium complexes, with chiral non-racemic N,P-ligands and weakly coordinating counter ions, are efficient catalysts in the asymmetric hydrogenation of olefins. Unfunctionalised olefins are particularly difficult substrates because, in general, a polar group adjacent to the alkene bond is required for high catalytic activity and enantioselectivity. The applicability towards a variety of substrates and choice of ligands reported thus far in the literature, as well as the mechanism, selectivity issues and the importance of the anion are also discussed.