The use of N-heterocyclic carbenes (NHCs) to modify homogeneous metal catalysts is widespread since the high metal–NHC bond strength renders high oxidative and chemical stability to the resulting metal complexes. The use of NHCs to modify metal surfaces has received considerably less attention. We will describe the modification of planar metallic surfaces with NHCs. The nature of the surface overlayer is strongly dependent on the nature of the NHC. Similarly, NHCs are useful new ligands for the stabilization of metal clusters, with the structure of the cluster being strongly influenced by the nature of the NHC. The unique properties of these NHC-stabilized clusters, including photophysical properties, stability and catalytic activity will be addressed.
We will also describe advances in cross-coupling chemistry the preparation of complex chiral molecules of interest to the pharmaceutical industry. This will include the ability to cross-couple seemingly identical boron substituents with different electrophiles, taking advantage of inherent differences in transmetallation behaviour and the development of sulfones as novel electrophiles for Suzuki-Miyaura cross coupling chemistry particularly in alkyl cross-coupling reactions.