Transition metal complexes play a vital role as catalysts in organic syntheses, enhancing selectivity and rates of many transformations. Typically iron is not the first choice when it comes to development of novel catalyst systems. However, iron has a number of advantages to other transition metals typically used in catalysis: iron is cheap, non-toxic, environmentally friendly and abundant. Accordingly, an increasing number of publications describe novel applications of iron catalysts in organic synthesis. The review article covers recent developments in the field since 2004. Iron catalysis in carbon-carbon bond formations, cyclizations, carbon-heteroatom bond formation, oxidations, biomimetic oxidations, reductions and polymerizations is summarized. The article demonstrates the versatility of iron in organic synthesis and the vigorous research activities in the area.
Keywords: Iron Catalysis, Synthesis, Transition metal, iron catalysts, biomimetic oxidations, cyclizations, carbon-heteroatom, polymerizations