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Book Review Organic Superconductors (Including Fullerenes). Synthesis Structure Properties and Theory. By J. M

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BOOKS
Organic Superconductors (Including
Fullerenes). Synthesis, Structure,
Properties, and Theory. By J. M .
Williun?.s et al. Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ (USA), 1992.
400 pp.. hardcover $91.10.-1SBN 013-640 566-5
The authors of this book, most of whom
are at the Argonne National Laboratory,
Illinois. are international leaders in the
field, with complementary expertise in the
areas of organic and inorganic materials
chemistry, theoretical chemistry, spectroscopy. X-ray crystallography, and solid
state physics. They have combined forces
to deliver an excellent up-to-date overview of organic superconductors and related highly conducting organic molecular materials (conducting polymers are excluded). This book will be welcomed by
active researchers and interested spectators alike. These materials are crystalline
charge-transfer salts formed by combinations of specific organic rr-donor o r rr-acceptor molecules. The first organic superconductor was discovered in 1979 and
since then there has been vigorous interest
in this multi-disciplinary field of research.
About 70 organic superconductors are
now known, with transition temperatures
as high as 33 K in the fullerene series.
The book is divided into eight chapters
with three appendices. The main topics
are: organic synthesis of the constituent
electron donor and acceptor building
blocks; structural aspects of these molecules and their derived salts; electrical and
superconducting properties; spectroscopic, magnetic, and theoretical studies. A list
of well-selected references is given at the
end of each chapter. The book is well produced and the reviewer found no factual or
typographical errors. Good use is made of
diagrams (especially X-ray crystal structures) and tables of data, for ease of correlation of the structural, electrical, and
magnetic properties of series of salts where
there are minor changes in the constituent
moieties. The inter-relationship between
different solid-state properties is emphasized. For example, the key role of crystal
stacking motifs in determining the transition temperature for the onset of superconductivity is discussed in detail.
The book focuses mainly on tetrachalcogenofulvalene systems: superconducting
salts of fulleride anions are described
briefly in an appendix which is mainly
based on the 1991 literature, so some of
this section is rapidly becoming out ofdate.
The book also contains a list of the names
and addresses of researchers in the field of
organic superconductivity, although it is
not quite clear what the criteria are for
inclusion in this list! The book concludes
with an adequate index of the key materials and subjects covered in the text.
The past decade has witnessed such dramatic, and often unexpected, advances in
organic superconductors that it is impossible to predict what the future holds.
However, there is no doubt that exciting
new experimental and theoretical discoveries could emerge at any time, and that this
topic will remain at the forefront of science for a long time. A key goal is to synthesize organic materials with transition
temperatures raised to above 100 K. to
compete with the ceramic superconductors. This is the best single volume on the
subject that has been published, and it has
a valuable place in the fast-growing literature on organic superconductors.
Martin R. Bryce
Department of Chemistry
University of Durham
Durham (United Kingdom)
Antibiotics and Antiviral Compounds.
Chemical Synthesis and Modification.
Edited by K . Krohn, H. A . Kirst and
H. Muug. VCH Verlagsgesellschaft,
Weinheim/VCH Publishers, New
York, 1993. 482pp., hardcover DM
128.00, 53.00.--ISBN 3-527-29040011 -56081-745-3
This book contains a detailed report of
an international conference on the synthesis of antibiotics, which has taken place at
two-yearly intervals since 1988. The 1992
meeting reported here was held in Kloster
Banz, Bavaria (FRG). The subject of antibiotics syntheses is now more topical
than ever before. One reason for this is
that the synthesis of antibiotics (and other
natural products), which initially served
to give final proof of a proposed structure,
has now developed so that versatile methods for targeted syntheses make it possible to explore variations of essential
structural elements and to progress in a
systematic way on the basis of structureactivity relationships. A second reason is
that there is a growing need to develop
ever more effective and selective drugs to
combat resistant strains of bacteria, as
well as cancer and retroviruses, so as to
maintain the present high standard of
available therapeutic measures. The subject of antibiotics syntheses as originally
understood has therefore been enlarged to
include “New Methods” (of making antibiotics) and “Antiviral Agents” (undoubtedly connected with the pressures
on the science generated by AIDS), each
of these topics being represented by a
chapter in the book. The other five chapters are concerned with particular groups
of antibiotics, three with the important
and well-established areas of macrolides,
/Mactarns. and carbohydrates (insofar as
these are involved in the synthesis of antibiotics), and two with newer areas, tirstly peptides and glycopeptides. and secondly the enediyne antibiotics that have
become so important in cancer chemotherapy. General aspects. such as synthetic methods and strategies. receptors
research, and conformational analyses of
bioactive natural products of current interest, are scattered throughout the chapters.
The editors have tried to avoid the heterogeneity usually associated with conference reports by arranging the contents in
seven chapters and presenting an outward
appearance of uniformity. Nevertheless,
the way in which the individual contributions have been assigned to chapters
sometimes seems rather forced, and is
even wrong in a few cases (for example,
the article on echinocandins. which are cyclopeptides, has been allocated to the
chapter on macrolides).
The “New Methods“ range from
organometallic reactions, such as Pd”-catalyzed ally1 substitutions (B. M. Trost),
cross-couplings in combination with
direct o-metallization reactions (V.
Snieckus), and the use of Pd” reagents to
synthesize cyclopropanes which can then
be rearranged to give medium-sized 0heterocycles (R. K. Boeckmann), through
the use of thiazoles its masked fortnyl
groups in the synthesis of P-amino-x-hydroxyacids (A. Dondoni). to the derivatization of antibiotics using microorganisms (A. Zeeck et al.).
The chapter on macrolides includes descriptions of total syntheses of rutamycin B (J. D. White), erythronolide A
(R. W Hoffmann et af.), and erythronolide B (J. Mulzer et al.). Also some new
methods are reported here: for example,
White describes the thermal decomposition of o-hydroxy-S-acylxanthates, and
Hoffmann describes a stereoselective
crotylboration. The convergent synthesis
described by Mulzer et al. uses the acetonide of the glyceraldehyde as the only
chiral building element; i t is a nice example of the modern trend towards versatile synthetic methods mentioned earlier, since in addition to the original target
molecule it can be used to prepare various
derivatives. To end this chapter G. Hofle
and H. A. Kirst discuss new macrolides
and their semi-synthetic derivatives, as
well as their biological effects, etc.
The chapter on p-lactams describes the
penems that are marketed commercially
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