Catalysis for Heterocycles

Dr. Xiao-Feng Wu

Around 90% of natural occurring molecules have heterocycles as their core structure, additionally; heterocycles have broad applications in pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, dyes, and etc. Under those backgrounds, heterocycle synthesis has become one of the biggest branches in modern organic chemistry. On the other hand, carbonylation reactions hold many advantages such as introducing carbonyl group and using carbon monoxide as a cheap C1 source.

One interests of our group is to apply carbonylation reactions in the preparation of various heterocycles (Scheme 1).[1] During the past time, we have successfully applied carbonylation in the synthesis of flavones, furanones, benzoxazinones and etc.

Scheme 1. Carbonylative Synthesis of Heterocycles.

The other topic of our group is focus on the catalytic application of cheap metals (Zn, Fe, Cu).[2] The catalytic application of these metal salts in the synthesis of heterocycles have been achieved in our group. Additionally, we are also interested in developing metal-free methodologies in organic synthesis as the request of sustainable development and green chemistry.


[1] X. –F. Wu, H. Neumann, M. Beller, Chem. Rev. 2013, 113, 1-35.

[2] a) X. –F. Wu, Chem. Asian J. 2012, 7, 2502-2509; b) X. –F. Wu, H. Neumann,  Adv. Synth. Catal. 2012, 354, 3141-3160.