Reaction mechanism

Reaction mechanism

In addition to the synthesis of new molecules, one of the most frequently asked questions of organic chemistry is the pathway of a known reaction. This includes both mechanistic as well as kinetic considerations.

For mechanistic questions (e.g. regio- or stereoselectivity), the knowledge of the structure of all involved reactants is required. It is also useful to get an idea of the structure of possibly occurring intermediates or transition states.

If intermediates exist, sometimes their isolation is possible. These intermediates are usually unstable, which complicates the conventional structure determination and sometimes renders it impossible. With modern methods of NMR structure determination (especially NOE and RDC), we have succeeded in elucidating the structure of an intermediate (a substrate-catalyst complex), thus making significant contributions to our understanding of the reaction.

The elucidation of the transition state is much more difficult. If the structure of a reactant doesn’t change during the reaction, such as the catalyst in the key-lock principle, then it is enough to determine the structure of this reactant. Is this reaction partner not rigid but flexible, so the question arises which of the conformers contribute to the desired reaction, which conformers are not involved and which conformers lead to possible byproducts. A project that deals with such a flexible catalyst is the tetrapeptide.

Coworker on that area

Name Office Phone E-mail
L2|07 13-21832
L2|07 4-21833