Earth-abundant transition metal catalysts for alkene hydrosilylation and hydroboration

Jennifer V. Obligacion, Paul J. Chirik

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

565 Scopus citations


The addition of X 3 Si–H or X 2 B–H (X = H, OR or R) across a C–C multiple bond is a well-established method for incorporating silane or borane groups, respectively, into hydrocarbon feedstocks. These hydrofunctionalization reactions are often mediated by transition metal catalysts, with precious metals being the most commonly used owing to the ability to optimize reaction scope, rates and selectivities. For example, platinum catalysts effect the hydrosilylation of alkenes with anti-Markovnikov selectivity and constitute an enabling technology in the multibillion dollar silicones industry. Increased emphasis on sustainable catalytic methods and on more economic processes has shifted the focus to catalysis with more earth-abundant transition metals, such as iron, cobalt and nickel. This Review describes the use of first-row transition metal complexes in catalytic alkene hydrosilylation and hydroboration. Defining advances in the field are covered, noting the chemistry that is unique to first-row transition metals and the design features that enable them to exhibit precious-metal-like reactivity. Other important features, such as catalyst activity and stability, are covered, as are practical considerations, such as cost and safety.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-34
Number of pages20
JournalNature Reviews Chemistry
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering


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