Chemical Reviews, Vol.119, No.12, 7529-7609, 2019
Alternative Technologies That Facilitate Access to Discrete Metal Complexes
Organometallic complexes: these two words jump to the mind of the chemist and are directly associated with their utility in catalysis or as a pharmaceutical. Nevertheless, to be able to use them, it is necessary to synthesize them, and it is not always a small matter. Typically, synthesis is via solution chemistry, using a round bottom flask and a magnetic or mechanical stirrer. This review takes stock of alternative technologies currently available in laboratories that facilitate the synthesis of such complexes. We highlight five such technologies: mechanochemistry, also known as solvent-free chemistry, uses a mortar and pestle or a ball mill; microwave activation can drastically reduce reaction times; ultrasonic activation promotes chemical reactions because of cavitation phenomena; photochemistry, which uses light radiation to initiate reactions; and continuous flow chemistry, which is increasingly used to simplify scale-up. While facilitating the synthesis of organometallic compounds, these enabling technologies also allow access to compounds that cannot be obtained in any other way. This shows how the paradigm is changing and evolving toward new technologies, without necessarily abandoning the round-bottom flask. A bright future is ahead of the organometallic chemist, thanks to these novel technologies.