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Categories: Organic Chemistry >> Synthesis

Elements of Synthesis Planning

Reinhard W. Hoffmann

Softcover, 227 Pages
First Edition, 2009
ISBN: 978-3-540-79219-2


The total synthesis of compounds with interesting physical or biological properties is at the core of organic chemistry. Since only a small number of such compounds originate from natural sources, devising de novo routes to unique and artificial scaffolds requires the skills of planning and executing multi-step syntheses and having a toolbox of methodologies at one’s disposal. Often, even the best plans require modifications, fine-tuning or entire rerouting, and chemists are faced with the daily challenge of choosing the right combination of reagents and building blocks for a whole set of problems: Which building blocks are optimal? In which sequence should they be assembled? Which reactions accomplish the task best?

This text focuses on these basic considerations that govern the planning and execution of a synthesis. The author details synthetic strategies, provides criteria for ranking different synthesis plans, and provides guidelines for optimizing syntheses. References to the original work provide the reader with a means of further study of the details and original considerations. The text takes a more in-depth look at synthesis than do standard organic chemistry textbooks and is a useful complement to other books on the market.

Furthermore it includes problems and solutions.

Editorial Review

Synthesis planning requires an extensive basic knowledge of organic chemistry and a wealth of practical experience. This knowledge and experience translate into specific synthesis routes for a target molecule. In this way, a retrosynthesis for the desired product leads to a basic plan with individual components that are to be assembled selectively to produce the target molecule with the least possible effort. In the evaluation of suitable strategies, details such as protecting group chemistry, the number of synthetic steps and the cost of starting materials represent additional hurdles to overcome.

Reinhard W. Hoffmann’s book provides students with a toolkit to do successful synthesis planning on their own. It is not a textbook that offers basic or advanced knowledge of organic chemistry, but it rather shows how to apply this knowledge to synthesis planning in a practical manner. The author has succeeded admirably through the use of readily understandable language, simple schemes and ideally selected examples. "Elements of Synthesis Planning" highlights tactics; it holds valuable advice and offers new perspectives for advanced students – even on retrosynthesis, a topic often neglected in organic chemistry textbooks. Hoffmann succeeds in kindling knowledge in many places throughout the book. Students who work through the chapters on the important synthons will gain great benefit from the additional insights in Hoffmann‘s book.

For advanced students and other readers interested in synthesis planning, reading "Elements of Synthesis Planning" is highly recommended! The author offers promising tactics, and helps readers connect their background knowledge with a target-oriented approach applied to specific synthesis problems.


Introduction.- Functional Group Oriented Bond-Sets.- Skeleton Oriented Bond-Sets.- Building Block Oriented Synthesis.- The Basis for Planning.- Formation of Cyclic Structures.- Protecting Groups.- Ranking of Synthesis Plans.- Computer-Aided Synthesis Planning.- Stereogenic Centers and Planning of Syntheses.- Enjoying the Art of Synthesis.- Summary and Concluding Remarks.- Solutions to Problems.