Home > Wilkinson's Catalyst (Molecule of the Month for October 1996 )

Picture of Wilkinson

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Wilkinson's Catalyst structure
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Picture of Wilkinson

Rh (PPh3)3 Cl

Professor Sir Geoffrey Wilkinson, FRS, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, died on September 26,1996

His work had a wide effect on inorganic chemistry and started the field of organometallic chemistry.

One of his chemical discoveries earned his name, Wilkinson's Catalyst. This organometallic compound activates small organic molecules such that the bond-breaking and bond-formation pathways are readily accessible.

Wilkinson's Catalyst is a rhodium metal complex with three large phosphine ligands coordinated to the metal centre, Rh(PPh3)3Cl. The catalytic chemistry is illustrated in the following animations.

Formal Chemical Name (IUPAC)
Rhodium Tris(triphenylphosphine) chloride

Update by Karl Harrison
(Molecule of the Month for October 1996 )