Cloke’s metal-based discovery has opened up a neglected area of research, ‘Nobody found the right system so they stopped doing it,’ he said. He is keen to stress that only depleted uranium is used, ‘radioactivity has nothing to do with it.’
Andrea Sella at University College London said Cloke’s data were ‘astonishing’. Such blue skies research has become rather unfashionable, said Sella. Reactivity like this wouldn’t be predicted from conventional chemistry models and most researchers wouldn’t even attempt it, he added.
Cloke’s work could have a substantial impact on organic chemistry, ‘and it’s happened by accident,’ Sella told Chemistry World. He is impressed that Cloke’s system uses CO to make much more complex molecules, and is carried out under mild conditions.