Incompatible organic reactions impede efficient green synthesis by making multi-component or cascade reactions a big challenge. This review highlights pot-in-pot reactions (multiple reactions carried out in one pot by separating key reactions with a thin polymeric membrane) as an efficient, green synthetic alternative to conventional synthesis. We discuss the advantages of homogeneous processes to develop new cascade reaction sequences by reviewing the use of polymeric thimbles as selective semi-permeable walls. These thimbles allow small organic molecules to diffuse through while retaining polar reagents, polar solvents, and/or organometallic catalysts. The dynamic and versatile nature of this technique is demonstrated by performing 2- and 3-step cascade reactions in one glass pot. A pot-in-pot reaction approach to synthesis circumvents the need to isolate intermediates, or handling of toxic/unpleasant by-products, therefore enabling synthesis of otherwise challenging molecules, improving the efficiency, or enabling greener approaches to modular synthesis.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/martin_thuo/25/