Helical-chiral small molecules in asymmetric catalysis

Maurice J. Narcis, Norito Takenaka

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


The design, synthesis and study of novel catalyst structures have had an enormous impact on asymmetric synthesis and continue to be a field of intense interest. Molecules with helical structures have fascinated chemists in the field for many years because such molecules are inherently chiral. A number of small molecules with such unique topology have been prepared in an optically active form and exploited as asymmetric catalysts. The story behind the development of these molecules is usually different in each case, in part due to differences in their synthetic accessibilities. This microreview provides some examples that illustrate the different ways in which such helical-chiral small molecules can be synthesized and used to catalyze reactions of interest, and highlights the beneficial effect of helical-chiral catalysts. Molecular frameworks characterized by a space curve exhibit helical chirality. In this microreview we discuss a variety of synthetic strategies used to construct helical-chiral small molecules and highlight their beneficial effects as asymmetric catalysts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-34
Number of pages14
JournalEuropean Journal of Organic Chemistry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014


  • Asymmetric catalysis
  • Asymmetric synthesis
  • Enantioselectivity
  • Helical structures
  • Helicenes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry


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