The journey of “carbenes” is more than a century old. It began with a curiosity to understand a then less familiar carbon moiety in its divalent state. It reached an important milestone in the form of 1,3-imidazolium-based N-heterocyclic carbenes (NHCs), where the quest for bottleable carbenes was achieved through simple and elegant synthetic routes. The properties of these carbenes were finely tunable through the steric and electronic factors via chemical modifications. Thus, it became one of the unique and extensively studied ligands for its properties and applications. This chapter first briefs about structural details of NHCs and different synthetic routes for the preparation of imidazolium-based NHC precursors. The later section focuses on various methods for characterizing the steric and electronic properties of these ligands and their metal intermediates, which are crucial for developing efficient catalytic processes. Finally, the chapter concludes with NHC-metal-mediated catalytic applications and its immediate challenges.
Part of the book: Carbene