Chemistry and Biochemistry

Daniel Ess' Research Highlighted in C&E News

Posted: Nov 14, 2012

The Chemical & Engineering News (C&E News) recently highlighted a paper by collaborators Dr Daniel Ess of BYU and Dr László Kürti of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. The research details the experiment and theory of a new organic reagent that converts aryl boronic acids to primary aromatic amines.

The article was published Oct. 22 in the Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS). C&E News referenced it in their Nov. 5 journal as part of a news item titled “Extending Aminations’ Reach.” This breakthrough is an important one because it eliminates the need to use metal catalysts and, by extension, the need to separate the metal catalysts from the resulting compound (the aromatic amines), which is expensive.

“This had never been done before,” Ess said. “People have been trying to get this reaction to work but haven’t been successful until now.”

Aromatic amines are important components of pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, dyes, and polymers. Chemists have been trying to find a metal-free reaction that synthesizes amines for decades without success – until now. Ess (and his BYU research group)’s specific contribution to the JACS article was to use theory to show why this new amination reagent works when so many others do not.

By Jessica Henrie

Author's Note: C&E News also mentioned an independent article, published Sept. 24 in the JACS by a second research team from Boston College. The Boston team developed a different chemical reaction that also synthesizes amines without using transition metal catalysts.