To this end, the team is investigating whether elements from different parts of the periodic table could be used to perform the same function as these transition metals. They have demonstrated that is possible to insert carbon monoxide (CO) into a bismuth–nitrogen bond under mild conditions. It is thought that this is the first example of such a reaction.
Bismuth is not a transition metal but a heavy p-block element. In this work however it is involved in a reaction previously thought to only be possible for transition metals. This reaction should pave the way to new, more environmentally-friendly syntheses of useful compounds.
"Modern main group chemistry, and bismuth chemistry in particular are very exciting topics that can challenge our current understanding of certain sub-disciplines in chemistry", says Dr Lichtenberg. "It will help to grow a richer arsenal of synthetic methods and new materials to pick from for the development of sustainable future applications."
This article is free to read in our open access, flagship journal Chemical Science: Matthias Bickelhaupt, Crispin Lichtenberg et al., Chem. Sci., 2019, Advance Article. DOI: 10.1039/C9SC00278B. You can access our 2019 ChemSci Picks in this article collection. Read more like this