Cooperative Catalysis and Activation with N-Heterocyclic Carbenes

Michael H. Wang, Karl A. Scheidt*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

346 Scopus citations


N-Heterocyclic carbene (NHC) catalysis has emerged as a powerful stratagem in organic synthesis to construct complex molecules primarily by polarity reversal (umpolung) approaches. These unique Lewis bases have been used to generate acyl anions, enolates, and homoenolates in catalytic fashion. Recently, a new strategy has emerged that dramatically expands the synthetic utility of carbene catalysis by leveraging additional activation modes: cooperative catalysis. The careful selection and balance of cocatalysts have led to enhanced reactivity, increased yields, and improved stereoselectivity. In certain cases, these catalytic additives have changed the regioselectivity or diastereoselectivity. This Minireview highlights new advances in NHC cooperative catalysis and surveys the evolution of this field.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14912-14922
Number of pages11
JournalAngewandte Chemie - International Edition
Issue number48
StatePublished - Nov 21 2016


  • N-heterocyclic carbenes
  • cooperative catalysis
  • organocatalysis
  • synthetic methods

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry(all)


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