One pathway for the preparation of enantiomerically pure compounds from prochiral substrates is the use of metal complex catalysis with chiral ligands. Compared to the other frequently used chiral ligands, chiral 2,2'-bipyridines have been underexploited, despite the data indicating that such ligands have considerable potential in synthetic chemistry. One of those is the so-called Bolm's ligand, a compound possessing chiral alcohol moieties in the side chains attached to the 2,2'-bipyridine scaffold. Various metal salts have been used in combination with Bolm's ligand as potent catalysts able to bring about enantioselective alkylations, allylations, conjugate additions, desymmetrization of meso-epoxides, aldol reactions, etc. This review aims to summarize Bolm's ligand applications in the area of enantioselective synthesis over the last three decades since its preparation.
Keywords: bipyridine; catalysis; enantioselectivity; synthesis.