Projects per year
Gold, the archetypal “noble metal”, used to be considered of little interest in catalysis. It is now clear that this was a misconception, and a multitude of gold-catalysed transformations has been reported. However, one consequence of the long-held view of gold as inert metal is that its organometallic chemistry contains many “unknowns”, and catalytic cycles devised to explain gold's reactivity draw largely on analogies with other transition metals. How realistic are such mechanistic assumptions? In the last few years a number of key compound classes have been discovered that can provide some answers. This Perspective attempts to summarise these developments, with particular emphasis on recently discovered gold(III) complexes with bonds to hydrogen, oxygen, alkenes and CO ligands.