C. Wattanakit, T. Yutthalekha, S. Asssavapanumat, V. Lapeyre, A. Kuhn

Nature Comm. 2017, 8, 2087

see also CNRS press release

Asymmetric synthesis of molecules is of crucial importance to obtain pure chiral compounds, which are of primary interest in many areas including medicine, biotechnology, and chemistry. Various methods have been used very successfully to increase the enantiomeric yield of reaction pathways, but there is still room for the development of alternative highly enantioselective reaction concepts, either as a scientific challenge of tremendous fundamental
significance, or owing to the increasing demand for enantiopure products, e.g., in the pharmaceutical industry. In this context, we report here a strategy for the synthesis of chiral compounds, based on pulsed electrochemical conversion. We illustrate the approach with the stereospecific electroreduction of a prochiral model molecule at chiral mesoporous metal structures, resulting in an enantiomeric excess of over 90%. This change of paradigm opens up promising reaction schemes for the straightforward synthesis of high-added-value molecules.

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