Transition metal catalysis in modern organic synthesis has largely focused on noble transition metals like palladium, platinum and ruthenium. The toxicity and low abundance of these metals, however, has led to a rising focus on the development of the more sustainable base metals like iron, copper and nickel for use in catalysis. Iron is a particularly good candidate for this purpose due to its abundance, wide redox potential range, and the ease with which its properties can be tuned through the exploitation of its multiple oxidation states, electron spin states and redox potential. This is a fact made clear by all life on Earth, where iron is used as a cornerstone in the chemistry of living processes. In this mini review, we report on the general advancements in the field of iron catalysis in organic chemistry covering addition reactions, C-H activation, cross-coupling reactions, cycloadditions, isomerization and redox reactions.
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