Reactive Intermediates in Gold(I) Catalysis

Friday, February 7, 2020

Dr. Ross Widenhoefer

Department of Chemistry

Duke University

Reception: Hand 1130 at 3:00 PM

Seminar: Hand 1144 at 3:30 PM


Cationic gold complexes in which gold is bound to a formally divalent carbon atom, typically formulated as gold carbenes or alpha-metallocarbenium ions, have been widely invoked in a range of gold-catalyzed transformations.  Although the existence of gold carbene complexes in these transformations is largely accepted, these reactive intermediates have never been directly observed and there has been considerable debate regarding the nature and electronic structure of gold carbene complexes, due in large part to the absence of suitable model complexes for structural and spectroscopic analysis and reactivity studies.  This lecture will discuss our recent efforts directed toward the synthesis and study of cationic gold(I) complexes relevant to gold(I) catalysis with a focus on cationic, two-coordinate gold carbene and carbenoid complexes.


Ross A. Widenhoefer received his B.A. in chemistry from Gustavus Adolphus College (St. Peter, Minnesota, USA) in 1989.  He received his Ph. D. degree from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1994 under the direction of Prof. C. P. Casey and was an NCI postdoctoral trainee at MIT in the laboratories of Prof. S. L. Buchwald.  In 1997 he joined the faculty at Duke University (Durham, North Carolina, USA) and currently holds the rank of Professor of Chemistry.

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