04-Mar-2021 - Universität des Saarlandes

Chemists develop variety of industrially important synthetic process

The formation of double bonds between two carbon atoms (C=C) is of central significance in natural organisms. The vast majority of natural substances therefore contain one or more of these double bonds. Compounds with C=C double bonds, the alkenes or olefins, also play a prominent role in the organic chemical industry. A great many chemical processes have therefore been developed over the years to control the formation of C=C bonds.

One such process, olefin metathesis, has received particular attention over the last few decades and the 2005 Nobel Prize for Chemistry was awarded in recognition of its significance.

Despite the many parallels between carbon and the heavier members of the carbon group (Group 14) of the periodic table, olefin metathesis was only of practical significance when compounds containing C=C bonds were involved. This seems somewhat surprising given the fact that double bonds between the heavier elements of the carbon group are considerably weaker than a C=C bond and are thus more easily cleaved.

David Scheschkewitz, Professor of Inorganic and General Chemistry at Saarland University, Lukas Klemmer and Anna-Lena Thömmes from his research group and Volker Huch and Bernd Morgenstern from the X-ray Diffraction Service Centre have developed and characterized a new class of germanium-based heavier alkene analogues whose Ge=Ge bond exhibits just the right degree of stability to participate in synthetically useful metathesis reactions.

The Scheschkewitz group employed the new methodology to synthesize the first long-chain polymers containing double bonds between heavier elements. In the near future, the researchers hope to extend the concept to other elements of the periodic table, which could be of potential use in developing novel materials for applications in the field of organic electronics. 'The underlying principle is simple and could also be applied in organic chemistry,' explains Professor Scheschkewitz.

Potentially, this could also provide a means of carrying out olefin metathesis reactions without the precious-metal catalysts needed in the traditional approach.

Facts, background information, dossiers

More about Uni des Saarlandes

  • News

    Killer cells get better with age

    The human immune system is a thing of wonder. Up until now it had been widely assumed that the ability of killer T cells to destroy tumour cells and pathogens would deteriorate with age. It turns out, however, that the opposite is true – they become better killers, the older they get. This ... more

    Sensor stickers transform the human body into a multi-touch surface

    They are similar to ultra-thin patches, their shape can be freely chosen, and they work anywhere on the body. With such sensors on the skin, mobile devices like smartphones and smartwatches can be operated more intuitively and discreetly than ever before. Computer scientists at Saarland Uni ... more

    Ultrathin superconducting film developed

    Experimental physicists in the research group led by Professor Uwe Hartmann at Saarland University have developed a thin nanomaterial with superconducting properties. Below about -200 °C these materials conduct electricity without loss, levitate magnets and can screen magnetic fields. The p ... more

q&more – the networking platform for quality excellence in lab and process

The q&more concept is to increase the visibility of recent research and innovative solutions, and support the exchange of knowledge. In the broad spectrum of subjects covered, the focus is on achieving maximum quality in highly innovative sectors. As a modern knowledge platform, q&more offers market participants one-of-a-kind networking opportunities. Cutting-edge research is presented by authors of international repute. Attractively presented in a high-quality context, and published in German and English, the original articles introduce new concepts and highlight unconventional solution strategies.

> more about q&more

q&more is supported by: