Abstract Allan D. Headley


Our research focuses on the development of various recyclable homogeneous organocatalysts that are unique in that they contain ionic liquid moieties, which convey a wide range of properties to these catalysts. A major problem associated with the use of present catalysts for asymmetric transformations in organic synthesis is that they are not easily recovered and recycled because they are typically soluble in the reaction media. As a result, large amounts of catalysts are typically used, especially in industry, which poses a disposal problem. The ionic liquid-supported (ILS) organocatalysts developed in our lab are tunable and their properties can be adjusted to meet a wide variety of reaction conditions. Hence, by changing the polarity of the reaction media after a reaction is complete, the product phase can be separated from the catalyst phase, which makes for easy separation of the catalyst from the products to make the catalyst readily recyclable. Since these catalysts are recyclable and effective in aqueous solvents, they will also provide a “green’ alternative. Reactions that will be discussed in which these organocatalysts are used include the asymmetric the Baylis Hillman, aldol, Michael and the hetero Diels Alder reactions.  For these reactions, excellent enantioselectivities and diastereoselectivities are obtained and the catalysts are recyclable.