Recent Breakthroughs in P4 Chemistry: Towards Practical, Direct Transformations into P1 Compounds

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For several decades, academic researchers have been intensively studying the chemistry of white phosphorus (P4) in the hope of developing direct methods for its transformation into useful P-containing products. This would bypass the hazardous, multistep procedures currently relied on by industry. However, while academically interesting P4 activation reactions have become well established, their elaboration into useful, general synthetic procedures has remained out of reach. Very recently, however, a series of independent reports has begun to change this state of affairs. Each shows how relatively simple and practical synthetic methods can be used to access academically or industrially relevant P1 compounds from P4 directly, in “one pot” or even in a catalytic fashion. These reports mark a step change in the field of P4 chemistry, and suggest its possible transition from an area of largely academic interest to one with the promise of true synthetic relevance.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere202205019
JournalAngewandte Chemie - International Edition
Issue number28
Early online date25 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jul 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author would like to thank the EPSRC for award of an Early Career Fellowship (EP/V056069/1) and Robert Wolf, Jose Cammarata and Marion Till for thoughtful feedback and useful discussions.

Funding Information:
Daniel Scott earned his PhD from Imperial College London (UK) under the supervision of Dr. Andrew Ashley and Prof. Matthew Fuchter. He subsequently received an EPSRC Doctoral Prize fellowship at the same institution, followed by an Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship at the University of Regensburg to work with Prof. Robert Wolf. He is currently an EPSRC Early Career Fellow at the University of Oxford, where his research interests include synthetic photochemistry and the activation and functionalization of industrially significant small molecules


  • Catalysis
  • Direct Transformations
  • Monophosphorus Compounds
  • Organophosphorus
  • White Phosphorus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • General Chemistry


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