Optically active epoxides are known as versatile chiral building blocks in organic synthesis, and many efforts have been directed
toward developing asymmetric epoxidation (AE) reaction of olefins. The first major breakthrough in AE using synthetic catalysts
was realized by Katsuki and Sharpless in 1980, they achieved enantiomeric excesses (ee’s) greater than 90% in the titanium tartrate-based
epoxidation of a variety of allylic alcohols. However, the substrates must bear specific functional groups to achieve the precoordination
required for high enantioselectivity. In 1990 Jacobsen et al. and Katsuki et al. announced their independently developed systems for the
catalytic AE of unfunctionalized olefins using chiral manganese (III) salen complexes. Since that time, the area of chiral manganese (III)-
catalyzed AE has expanded greatly. In this review we will focus on the ligand development and the application of homogeneous chiral
(salen) manganese (III)-promoted AE of olefins in recent years.
Keywords: Asymmetric epoxidation, Chiral, Manganese, Salen, homogeneous, Ligand, Olefin.
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