Lead


Lay summary
Organic synthesis (the preparation of carbon-containing molecules in thelaboratory) is of great importance, because most of the current drugs, plastics, dyes and fragrances are not anymore extracted from natural sources. The possibility of making these compounds by using light instead of toxic and expensive reagents or catalysts is studied by a specific fields of organic synthesis: the organic photochemistry. In this work, we will study in particular chiral molecules, i.e. molecules which can be distinguished from their mirror image. This property (the chirality) is crucial in pharmaceutics and fragrances.

The multiplication of chirality, once an almost inaccessible challenge, has now become of increasingly routine nature. In the 1980's, the development of increasingly powerful metal-based catalysts allowed the reliable formation of stereocenters, paralleling the introduction of a large number of pharmaceutically relevant chiral compounds. At the beginning of the 21st century, a new concept in enantioselective catalysis was introduced (reviving literature precedents from the 1970's, such as the Hajos-Parrish reaction): the organocatalysis. This field expanded spectacularly in the last five years, and a very large number of asymmetric reactions could be carried out. Surprisingly, there are so far no examples of direct organocatalysis in synthetic photochemistry (not considering the attempts in developing enantioselective sensitizers, a specific form of organocatalysis). This proposal aims at exploring a few simple reactions, which could in theory follow the principle of organocatalysis.