Chemists show that sodium can be safely used for cross-coupling reactions | 3/22/2019 | Staff
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A trio of chemists at Okayama University has published a paper in the journal Nature Catalysis outlining the manner in which sodium can be safely used for cross-coupling reactions. In their paper, Sobi Asako, Hirotaka Nakajima and Kazuhiko Takai describe relatively safe ways to produce organosodium molecules.

In chemistry, cross-coupling reactions join two organic compounds using a metal as a catalyst. One metal commonly used for such reactions is lithium, which is notably rare. Chemists know sodium is a possible catalyst, and is a far more common element—the researchers point out that it is the most abundant alkali metal in both the Earth's crust and in the ocean. But chemists also know that using sodium in such reactions is dangerous—the slightest mistake can result in a fire. A student at UCLA died from severe burns, for example, in 2008, when a syringe malfunction caused a fire. In their paper, Asako, Nakajima and Takai argue that there are safer ways to use sodium and outline a method.

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The researchers note that they began rethinking the idea of using sodium in cross-coupling reactions at the urging of...
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