The discovery of new reactions and catalysts has always presented an intriguing challenge to scientists. With the rise of combinatorial chemistry, a new method has emerged that holds considerable promise to facilitate the task since it allows for the simultaneous generation and testing of a large number of compounds. The crucial difficulty lies in establishing general technologies for rapid and reliable screening of libraries to determine the catalytic activity of their members. Several recent publications have addressed this question by using infrared thermography, colorimetric assays and fluorescence spectroscopy. These techniques have not only been applied successfully to the high-throughput screening of parallel compound arrays but also to the screening of one-bead-one-compound libraries. This demonstrates that combinatorial chemistry possesses indeed the potential to establish itself as a powerful tool for the discovery of new catalysts. This review describes the methodologies used so far for the detection of catalytic events and will place particular emphasis on the on-bead screening of one-bead-one-compound libraries.
Keywords: Combinatorial Chemistry, infrared thermography, enantiomeric purities, magnetoresistance, Diels Alder reactions, microsequenceable oligonucleotides, Colorimetric and Fluorescence Assays, Allylic Alkylations, Heck Reactions, aminomethylanthracene, IR-thermographic
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