Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

2010 Nobel Prize in Chemistry: Creating complex carbon-based molecules using palladium

Date:
October 6, 2010
Source:
Nobel Foundation
Summary:
The 2010 Nobel Prize in Chemistry has been awarded to Richard F. Heck, Ei-ichi Negishi and Akira Suzuki for developing palladium-catalyzed cross coupling. This chemical tool has vastly improved the possibilities for chemists to create sophisticated chemicals -- for example, carbon-based molecules as complex as those created by nature itself.

New ways of linking carbon atoms together has allowed scientists to make medicines and better electronics.
Credit: iStockphoto/Liang Zhang

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for 2010 to Richard F. Heck, Ei-ichi Negishi and Akira Suzuki for developing new ways of linking carbon atoms together that has allowed scientists to make medicines and better electronics.

American citizen Richard F. Heck, 79, of the University of Delaware in Newark, Delaware, Japanese citizens Akira Suzuki, 80, of Hokkaido University in Sapporo, Japan, and Ei-Ichi Negishi, 75, of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, will share the 10 million Swedish crowns ($1.5 million) award for their development of "palladium-catalyzed cross couplings in organic systems."

Carbon, the atom that is the backbone of molecules in living organisms, is usually very stable and it can be difficult in the laboratory chemically to synthesize large molecules containing carbon. In the Heck reaction, Negishi reaction and Suzuki reaction, carbon atoms meet on a palladium atom, which acts as a catalyst. The carbon atoms attach to the palladium atom and are thus positioned close enough to each other for chemical reactions to start. This allows chemists to synthesize large, complex carbon-containing molecules.

The Academy said it's a "precise and efficient" tool that is used by researchers worldwide, "as well as in the commercial production of for example pharmaceuticals and molecules used in the electronics industry."

Great art in a test tube

Organic chemistry has developed into an art form where scientists produce marvelous chemical creations in their test tubes. Humankind benefits from this in the form of medicines, ever-more precise electronics and advanced technological materials. The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2010 awards one of the most sophisticated tools available to chemists today.

This year's Nobel Prize in Chemistry is awarded to Richard F. Heck, Ei-ichi Negishi and Akira Suzuki for the development of palladium-catalyzed cross coupling. This chemical tool has vastly improved the possibilities for chemists to create sophisticated chemicals -- for example, carbon-based molecules as complex as those created by nature itself.

Carbon-based (organic) chemistry is the basis of life and is responsible for numerous fascinating natural phenomena: colour in flowers, snake poison and bacteria killing substances such as penicillin. Organic chemistry has allowed man to build on nature's chemistry; making use of carbon's ability to provide a stable skeleton for functional molecules. This has yielded new medicines and revolutionary materials such as plastics.

In order to create these complex chemicals, chemists need to be able to join carbon atoms together. However, carbon is stable and carbon atoms do not easily react with one another. The first methods used by chemists to bind carbon atoms together were therefore based upon various techniques for rendering carbon more reactive. Such methods worked when creating simple molecules, but when synthesizing more complex molecules chemists ended up with too many unwanted by-products in their test tubes.

Palladium-catalyzed cross coupling solved that problem and provided chemists with a more precise and efficient tool to work with. In the Heck reaction, Negishi reaction and Suzuki reaction, carbon atoms meet on a palladium atom, whereupon their proximity to one another kick-starts the chemical reaction.

Palladium-catalyzed cross coupling is used in research worldwide, as well as in the commercial production of for example pharmaceuticals and molecules used in the electronics industry.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Nobel Foundation. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Nobel Foundation. "2010 Nobel Prize in Chemistry: Creating complex carbon-based molecules using palladium." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 October 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101006085720.htm>.
Nobel Foundation. (2010, October 6). 2010 Nobel Prize in Chemistry: Creating complex carbon-based molecules using palladium. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101006085720.htm
Nobel Foundation. "2010 Nobel Prize in Chemistry: Creating complex carbon-based molecules using palladium." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101006085720.htm (accessed September 16, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Manufacturer Prints 3-D Car In Record Time

Manufacturer Prints 3-D Car In Record Time

Newsy (Sep. 15, 2014) — Automobile manufacturer Local Motors created a drivable electric car using a 3-D printer. Printing the body only took 44 hours. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Refurbished New York Subway Tunnel Unveiled After Sandy Damage

Refurbished New York Subway Tunnel Unveiled After Sandy Damage

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 15, 2014) — New York officials unveil subway tunnels that were refurbished after Superstorm Sandy. Nathan Frandino reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Frustration As Drone Industry Outpaces Regulation In U.S.

Frustration As Drone Industry Outpaces Regulation In U.S.

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) — U.S. firms worry they’re falling behind in the marketplace as the FAA considers how to regulate commercial drones. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smart Gun Innovators Fear Backlash From Gun Rights Advocates

Smart Gun Innovators Fear Backlash From Gun Rights Advocates

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) — Winners of a contest for smart gun design are asking not to be named after others in the industry received threats for marketing similar products. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins