Potential Future Trends in Imidodiphosphorimidate-Catalysed Asymmetric Wagner-Meerwein Shift

The recent publication in Nature (doi:10.1038/s41586-023-06826-7) described an exciting development in the field of catalysis – the imidodiphosphorimidate-catalysed asymmetric Wagner-Meerwein shift of aliphatic alkenyl cycloalkanes to cycloalkenes with exceptional regio- and enantioselectivity. This breakthrough opens up new possibilities and potential future trends in catalysis, offering numerous applications across various industries.

Key Points of the Study

  1. Imidodiphosphorimidate catalyst enables asymmetric Wagner-Meerwein shift.
  2. Exceptional regio- and enantioselectivity achieved in the reaction.
  3. Aliphatic alkenyl cycloalkanes converted into cycloalkenes with high precision.

Potential Future Trends

This innovative catalytic process has the potential to revolutionize several industries and pave the way for novel applications. The following are potential future trends that could emerge as a result:

  • Pharmaceutical Industry: The pharmaceutical industry heavily relies on asymmetric synthesis to produce chiral compounds. The imidodiphosphorimidate-catalysed Wagner-Meerwein shift offers a highly efficient and selective route to access a diverse range of chiral cycloalkene intermediates, which can then be further elaborated to synthesize complex pharmaceutical compounds. This catalyst could become a valuable tool for drug discovery and development.
  • Fine Chemicals and Fragrance Industry: The fragrance and fine chemicals industry often require the synthesis of complex molecules with specific regio- and stereochemical features. The asymmetric Wagner-Meerwein shift enabled by the imidodiphosphorimidate catalyst offers a powerful method for the production of enantioenriched cycloalkenes, which can serve as building blocks for various fragrances, flavors, and high-value fine chemicals.
  • Materials Science: Cycloalkenes find applications as monomers in polymer synthesis. The ability to selectively generate cycloalkenes from aliphatic alkenyl cycloalkanes using the imidodiphosphorimidate-catalysed Wagner-Meerwein shift opens up new opportunities in polymer design and functionality. Tailored polymers with specific structural and stereochemical properties can be accessed, leading to advanced materials for various industries, including packaging, electronics, and automotive.
  • Green Chemistry: The development of efficient catalytic processes is a crucial aspect of green chemistry, aiming to minimize waste and environmental impact. The imidodiphosphorimidate-catalysed asymmetric Wagner-Meerwein shift offers a sustainable approach to the synthesis of complex molecules by minimizing the number of steps required and reducing the amount of waste generated. This can contribute to the advancement of greener and more sustainable chemical processes.

Unique Predictions and Recommendations

Based on this breakthrough, it is reasonable to make the following unique predictions and recommendations:

  1. Expanding Substrate Scope: Further research should be conducted to explore the substrate scope of the imidodiphosphorimidate-catalysed Wagner-Meerwein shift. Investigating the compatibility with different functional groups and exploring its application on more complex substrates could uncover new possibilities for the synthesis of diverse chiral compounds.
  2. Development of Chiral Ligands: The development of novel chiral ligands can enhance the selectivity and efficiency of the catalytic process. Researchers should delve into the design and synthesis of ligands that can fine-tune the regio- and enantioselectivity, allowing for even greater control over the reaction outcome.
  3. Collaboration between Academia and Industry: To realize the full potential of this catalytic process, collaboration between academia and industry is crucial. Academics can focus on fundamental research, exploring new catalyst designs and reaction mechanisms, while industry can contribute by scaling up the process and applying it to real-world applications.


The imidodiphosphorimidate-catalysed asymmetric Wagner-Meerwein shift described in the recent publication holds immense potential for various industries, including pharmaceuticals, fine chemicals, materials science, and green chemistry. The future trends in this field involve expanding substrate scope, developing chiral ligands, and fostering collaboration between academia and industry. Embracing these trends will undoubtedly drive innovation and deliver significant advancements in catalysis, benefiting multiple sectors and contributing to a more sustainable future.

[1] Author A et al. (2024) “Imidodiphosphorimidate-catalysed asymmetric Wagner–Meerwein shift of aliphatic alkenyl cycloalkanes to cycloalkenes with excellent regio- and enantioselectivity.” Nature. 10 January; doi:10.1038/s41586-023-06826-7