Polymer-supported reagents, catalysts, and sorbents: evolution and exploitation - a personalized view

Sherrington, D.C. (2001) Polymer-supported reagents, catalysts, and sorbents: evolution and exploitation - a personalized view. Journal of Polymer Science Part A: Polymer Chemistry, 39 (14). pp. 2364-2377. ISSN 0887-624X (http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pola.1213)

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The solid-phase method for oligopeptide synthesis was introduced by Professor Bruce Merrifield in 1963, but in practice the origins of polymer-supported reagents, catalysts. and so forth trace back to the early development of ion exchange and catalysis by sulfonic acid resins. This highlight summarizes how the evolution of solid-phase organic synthesis occurred in parallel with the development of supported reactive species and indicates the interchange between these areas in the last 30 years or so. The treatment is essentially a personalized one as seen from the author's own laboratory in the United Kingdom and is not intended to review the whole field. The emergence of the international series of conferences on polymer-supported organic chemistry is emphasized as a key development that stimulated and maintained the area before its importance was recognized more widely by both academic and industrial chemists. The requirement of robotic technologies, as the basis for high-throughput combinatorial and parallel synthesis in the pharmaceutical industry, has brought the relevance of supported chemistry to the attention of all synthetic chemists. At the same time, the recognition that all industrial chemical processes need to meet appropriate environmental standards has focused attention on the use of heterogenized reactive species as a potentially important technology for achieving the greening of chemistry. These two factors have brought polymer-supported reactive chemistry to center stage, so to speak, and the early principles laid down over 2 decades ago are now being developed and exploited at an amazing rate. From a rather slow start, through a number of ups and downs in its development, the area of polymer-supported chemistry now seems poised to join the more routine world of synthesis and to become a methodology used by all as and when appropriate.