The incorporation of fluorine or fluorine-containing groups into organic molecules can have a dramatic impact on their chemical and biological properties. In particular, fluorinated pharmaceuticals often exhibit improved potency compared to their non-fluorinated analogues and are more metabolically stable. The comparative lack of fluorine-containing natural products means that access to these compounds relies heavily on synthetic organic chemistry and new methods that offer improved efficiency and selectivity or even allow for the preparation of unprecendented classes of organofluorine compound are highly desired.
Our research is centred on the design and application of new methodologies for the synthesis of fluorine-containing organic molecules relevant as pharmaceuticals and agrochemicals. We are particularly interested in the development of catalytic strategies for the incorporation of fluorine or fluorine-containing functional groups such as the CF3, SCF3 and SF5 moiety, focusing principally, but not exclusively, on photocatalytic methods that harness energy from abundant and sustainable visible light. Within these projects we also endeavour to introduce new general catalysis concepts that could prove beneficial in many areas of organic synthesis beyond fluorine chemistry.
This work is conducted as part of the DFG-Research Training Network "Fluorine as a Key Element" (GRK 1582).