Click chemistry was first fully described by K. Barry Sharpless of The Scripps Research Institute in 2001 and describes chemistry tailored to generate substances quickly and reliably by joining small units together. Click chemistry is not a single specific reaction, but was meant to mimic nature, which also generates substances by joining small modular units.
A desirable Click chemistry reaction would:
- be modular
- be wide in scope
- give very high chemical yields
- generate only inoffensive byproducts
- be stereospecific
- be physiologically stable
- exhibit a large thermodynamic driving force (> 84 kJ/mol) to favor a reaction with a single reaction product. A distinct exothermic reaction makes a reactant "spring-loaded".
- have high atom economy.
The process would preferably:
- have simple reaction conditions
- use readily available starting materials and reagents
- use no solvent or use a solvent that is benign or easily removed (preferably water)
- provide simple product isolation by non-chromatographic methods (crystallisation or distillation)
... The Scripps Research Institute has a portfolio of click chemistry patents ... and the fine chemical company Baseclick, a BASF spin-off created to sell products made using click chemistry ...
... Dendrimers have been prepared via click chemistry, employing Diels-Alder reactions, thiol-yne reactions and azide-alkyne reactions ... There are ample avenues that can be opened by exploring this chemistry in dendrimer synthesis ...
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“If thought makes free, so does the moral sentiment. The mixtures of spiritual chemistry refuse to be analyzed.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (18031882)