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Fun with funny Phosphorus Molecules

Wednesday, 07 June 2017, 16:30-18:00
KIT, Campus Nord
Institute of Nanotechnology
Bldg. 640 Seminar room 0-167
Hermann-von-Helmholtz-Platz 1
76344 Eggenstein-Leopoldshafen

Talk given by

Prof.  Dr. Hansjörg Grützmacher

Department for Chemistry and Applied Biosciences

ETH Zürich

Zürich, Switzerland


The elements C,H,N,O form the basis for organic molecules and their combination has led to a countless array of molecules. The substitution of nitrogen by phosphorus opens the door into the world of organophosphorus compounds. This “simple” mutual substitution of two “homologous” elements may generate molecules which may look similar but have very different properties. Having developed a simple synthetic method for the preparation of Na(OCP) – the analogue of the very well established sodium isocyanate – we started to explore its properties as building block for organophosphorus compounds and discovered that Na(OCP) has very little in common with its nitrogen analogue, Na(OCN), indeed. Apart from cycloadditions leading to new phosphorus heterocycles such as A or B, Na(OCP) also serves as “P” transfer reagent and allows, for example, the synthesis of molecular metal phosphides C which are difficult to obtain otherwise. This chemistry has inspired the synthesis of molecules which are of fundamental but also of practical interest.


[1] F. F. Puschmann, D. Stein, D. Heift, C. Hendriksen, Z. A. Gal, H.-F. Grützmacher, H. Grützmacher, Angew. Chem., Int. Ed. 2011, 50, 8420-8423.

[2] R. Suter, Y. Mei, M. Baker, Z. Benkő, Z. Li, H. Grützmacher Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2016, DOI: 10.1002/anie.201610156; see also S. K. Ritter, C&EN 2017, 95, 6.

[3] In collaboration with Matthias Driess, TU Berlin.


Prof. Dr. Hansjörg Grützmacher

Department for Chemistry and Applied Biosciences ETH Hönggerberg
The Grützmacher Group
Prof. Dieter Fenske
Karlsruher Institut für Technologie KIT
Hermann-von-Helmholtz-Platz 1
Mail:dieter fenskeIwc5∂kit edu
Interested / Everyone