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Jianbo WANG: New Developments in Carbene Coupling Reaction


On May 23, 2023, Prof. Jianbo WANG from the Peking University was invited to the 116th Science Lecture in College of Science. He gave a lecture themed”New Developments in Carbene Coupling Reaction”, which was chaired by Prof. Minghua Xu of the Department of Chemistry, SUSTech.


In the lecture, Prof. WANG first introduced the research background of carbene, which included its discovery history since the 19th century and structural properties. The electronic structure of carbene determines its high reactivity. The formation of metal carbene by combining with transition metals can further control its reaction selectivity and realize a series of organic synthetic transformations. Metal carbenes can be divided into Schrock carbenes and Fisher carbenes, among which Schrock carbenes have nucleophilicity and mainly participate in olefin metathesis reactions, and Fisher carbene are electrophilic and are commonly found in cyclopropanization reactions and C-H insertion reactions, X-H insertion reaction, coupling reaction, etc. After decades of research, the reactions involving metal carbenes have made great progress and can be applied in fields such as chemical biology and industrial production. Next, Prof. WANG explained the two types of proposed mechanisms of transition-metal-catalyzed carbene transfer reactions and pointed out side reactions such as carbene dimerization. 

Later, Prof. WANG summarized a new type of reaction for C-C or C-Si bond construction---transition-metal-carbene-involved cross-coupling reaction that he has studied in the past decade, and he also briefly introduced some cross-coupling examples. This kind of new reaction and new method of small molecule synthesis can be applied in polymer synthetic reaction, such as carbene coupling reaction, carbene C1 polymerization, cyclopropanization polymerization. A series of new polymer compounds were synthesized and new ideas were provided for polymer synthesis design.


During the Q&A session, the audience enthusiastically asked questions about the design of polymer synthesis reactions, the impact of the order of steps for oxidation addition and migration insertion steps in carbene transfer reactions, and Prof. WANG has answered those questions meticulously.


In conclusion, Prof. XU handed an honorary certificate to Prof. WANG.