In Mexico most of the people don’t like chemistry due to the misconception that you must memorize loads of weird and complicated nomenclature for each compound or each element in the periodic table. I think it has a reason for it, that reason is because the way chemistry use to be taught back in the last century. When teachers were strict and memorize was the main tool for learning; for sure there is a name for this kind of teaching, I’m not sure though.

Currently, education is more based on the philosophy that each person has different preferences to learn. The most important think is the comprehension and the ability to interconnect concepts to produce new concepts. Well, at least that’s my point of view of it after many courses about education.

Getting back to the initial topic of this entry, I have to mention that I am working on some Palladium-catalyzed cross-coupling reaction of amines with bromide compounds. Something which has been very challenging due to the complex functionality of the molecule that I am working on. Even although, the reaction I am trying to use has been widely explored for the coupling of many molecules and the mechanism reaction is well established, as everything in science, it doesn’t necessarily mean that It would work for every amine and bromide compounds.

For that reason, I have to try different catalyst, co-catalyst and bases to achieve my first material. On the terms of the co-catalyst, there are a long range of it around the literature and many more coming up. I am not really going to talk the reason behind it, you can find some good literature reference of why people is synthesizing and trying different co-catalyst. My point is that most of them have impossible names to recall or even write from just seen the molecular structure. I am pretty sure there should be someone with that extraordinary ability, but that’s my case. Fortunately, acronyms pop out to help us!

Here you can find an useful table with the acronym and its meaning for each ligand. I’ve found this glossary in the reference at the bottom of this entry – why not try memorizing it and challenge your colleagues in the lab!


Ligand Full name
BINAP 2,2′-bis(diphenylphosphino)-1,1′-binaphthyl
tBu2P-biphenyl 2-(di-tert-butylphosphino)biphenyl
tBu3 tri-tert-butylphosphine
Cy2P-biphenyl 2-(dicyclohexylphosphino)biphenyl
dba dibenzylideneacetone
DPEphos bis(2-diphenylphosphinophenyl)ether
dppf 1,1′-bis(diphenylphosphino)ferrocene
IPr-HCl (carbene) 1,3-bis-(2,6-diisopropylphenyl)imidazolium chloride
(S)-MOP 2-(diphenylphosphino)-2′-methoxy-1,1′-binaphthyl
OAc acetate
P(o-tol)3 tri(o-tolyl)phosphine
Ph3P triphenylphosphine
Q-Phos 1,2,3,4,5-pentaphenyl-1′-(di-tert-butylphosphino)ferrocene
S-Phos 2-dicyclohexylphosphanyl-2′,6′-dimethoxybiphenyl
Xantphos 4,5-bis(diphenylphosphino)-9,9-dimethylxanthene
X-Phos 2-dicyclohexylphosphino-2′,4′,6′-triisopropylbiphenyl

(1) Colacot, T. J. Platinum Metals Review 2009, 53, 183-188.