The drive to develop increasingly active and selective heterogeneous catalysts continues with considerable vigour. In the case of large and medium scale production processes the stimulation remains the need to increase profitability and to improve process environmental acceptability. In the speciality, fine chemicals and pharmaceuticals businesses the drivers are the same, but include also the need to develop more efficient and faster methods for synthesising potential new products. This is particularly the case in the pharmaceuticals and agrochemicals areas where the high throughput synthesis and screening of potentially active compounds has become an economic imperative. Traditionally heterogeneous catalysts have been based primarily on inorganic oxide materials, and attempts to construct molecularly well-defined metal complex centres have been fewer in number. In contrast the much less used polymer-based heterogeneous catalysts have focussed more on immobilising well-defined catalytic entities. Interestingly these two areas are now moving closer towards each other, such that a healthy overlap has started to develop. This trend seems set to continue and can only benefit the whole heterogeneous catalysis field.
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