Palladium-Catalyzed Oxidation of Organic Chemicals with O2

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Science  16 Sep 2005:
Vol. 309, Issue 5742, pp. 1824-1826
DOI: 10.1126/science.1114666

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Selective oxidation of organic materials is one of the grand challenges facing chemists today. One class of oxidation reactions based on palladium catalysts led to excitement in the 1950s but ran into roadblocks in subsequent decades and research attention turned elsewhere. In his Perspective, Stahl discusses recent renewed interest in palladium-containing catalysts for selective oxidation. The latest generation of catalysts share common features with fuel cells and biological enzymes, and they may provide new opportunities for industrially relevant reactions.