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Chirik Group Collaboration with Merck Enables Discovery of Earth Abundant Metal Catalysts

Results from a collaboration between the Chirik group at Princeton and chemists at Merck, published in Science on 11/29, reports the discovery of new cobalt catalysts that can be used in asymmetric alkene hydrogenation reactions. By combining the Chirik group's experience with base metal chemistry with the high throughput experimentation techniques pioneered at Merck, the team demonstrated that simple cobalt salts, in combination with an appropriate activator, are effective precatalysts for the hydrogenation for disparate substrate classes. Existing rhodium and iridium catalysts often struggle with these substrates. This work has been highlighted in Chemistry World, the New York Times, Science, Nature, and C&EN.