Inorganic synthesis in the spotlight
Inorganic bond formation doesn't get the same attention as organic bond formation. Ian Manners and his team are addressing that by looking in detail at catalytic routes to make bonds between inorganic elements via dehydrocoupling reactions (which involve H2 elimination).
Manners has focused on the fundamental reactivity of phosphine-borane adducts at the platinum centre of a group of compounds. An increased understanding of the mechanism involved in the catalytic dehydrocoupling could lead to a general synthetic method with milder reaction conditions. It could also lead to living polymerisation or be applied to other systems to form bonds between other inorganic elements.
The study of the properties and applications of new materials, known as polyphosphineboranes, which are polymers with phosphorus-boron backbones, synthesised by these methods, represents an important new challenge for this area.