Conclusions

Certainly the enormous amount of research being carried out in order to discover mild, catalytic oxidation processes is being rewarded with some excellent results. However, there is a major problem. Very few of the successful processes are understood mechanistically, and approaches are largely empirical. Attempts to find new, effective processes involve the screening of the large number of possible catalytic systems. When these also involve metal complexes, there are numerous possible ligands, so the task requires even greater resources. There is an urgent need to gain an understanding of the mechanisms of catalytic processes, so that rational design can replace the current empiricism. Thus this is a research area for the future, and the rewards will be worthy of the challenge.

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