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Prof Thomas Wirth 


  • Design and Synthesis of New Chiral Selenium Electrophiles: high stereoselectivities are obtained with very simple and easily accessible reagents. Efficient polymer-bound selenium electrophiles with all the advantages in handling and work-up have been synthesized and used in various applications towards natural product synthesis.
  • Development of New Hypervalent Iodine Reagents: hypervalent iodine compounds are versatile alternative reagents in reactions traditionally employing heavy metal complexes. The development of chiral reagents led to various new stereoselective reactions. Due to their high reactivity, even the functionalization of alkanes can be achieved under mild reaction conditions.
  • Coordination of Chiral Ligands towards Electrophiles: we have developed a reagent-controlled stereoselective iodolactonization reaction applying a new method using a combination of ICl and a primary amine.
  • Electrochemical Methods: The selective functionalization of alkenes by combining electrochemical methods with electrophilic reagents leads to promising catalytic reactions. The direct electron transfer at electrode surfaces is frequently referred to as one of the prototypical green technologies of the future.
  • Microreactor Technology: The translation of both traditional flask-based chemistry and entirely new procedures on to chipbased platforms becomes more challenging as complexity of operation increases. We are developing new microreactors for reactions under segmented-flow conditions.
  • Computational Chemistry: The evaluation of reaction pathways, transition states, intermediates and mechanisms by close interaction of theory and experiment on various levels is supporting many of the research areas mentioned above.

In many areas of Synthetic Organic Chemistry reactions are needed, which produce in good yields stereochemically uniform compounds. In this respect many remarkable efforts have been undertaken and a variety of efficient as well as elegant stereochemical transformations using prochiral substrates are known. However, there are certain classes of compounds which cannot be efficiently used in these reactions. Only a few useful methods are known for the stereoselective functionalization of not or only weakly activated C-H bonds or C=C bonds. In our research projects we are investigating and developing stoichiometric and catalytic reactions leading to products with new stereogenic centers.