Department for Homogeneous Catalysis, Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung
Q: WHAT IS THE FOCUS OF YOUR LAB’S RESEARCH?
A: Our group focuses on the development of new catalysis concepts within the areas of organocatalysis, transition metal catalysis, and, to some extent, biocatalysis. Since 1999, our group concentrates on enantioselective organocatalysis as a fundamental approach complementing biocatalysis and transition metal catalysis. We have a profound interest in developing “new reactions”, designing and identifying new principles for the development of organocatalysts, expanding the scope of already developed catalysts, using organocatalysis in the synthesis of natural products and pharmaceuticals, and also investigating the mechanism by which organocatalysts activate their substrates. Furthermore, in 2005 our group has first conceptualized another approach to asymmetric catalysis, namely asymmetric counteranion directed catalysis (ACDC). This idea has not only progressed within the department but also at other institutions around the globe into a general strategy for asymmetric synthesis applied in organocatalysis as well as in transition metal catalysis and Lewis acid catalysis.
Q: WHATE WAS YOUR PREVIOUS WORK FLOW OR CHALLENGE?
A: The design and development of new asymmetric catalysts usually requires finding novel synthesis routes. Real-time characterization of the desired products and side products in the synthesis of new catalysts and precursors as well as in the exploration of novel reactions is thus very important with regard to saving time and costs.
Q: WHY DID YOU INCORPORATE THE EXPRESSION CMS INTO YOUR LABORATORY?
A: We wanted an analytical method that allows a rapid characterization of reaction products combined with the lowest effort of sample preparation. The expression compact mass spectrometer coupled with Plate ExpressTM is the method of choice to provide reliable mass data directly from TLC plates and ASAP® (Atmospheric Solids Analysis Probe) allows for direct analysis from solutions and solid substances without any sample preparation. In addition, the easy and fast possibility of changing the ion sources between ESI and APCI gives us a wide range of options to characterize our analytes from non-polar to very polar compounds in both positive and negative mode simultaneously.
Q: TO WHOM WOULD YOU RECOMMEND THE EXPRESSION CMS?
A: We recommend the expression compact mass spectrometer coupled with Plate Express to any group with a focus on organic synthesis for usage as a routine tool to monitor chemical reactions.