Sabatier’s principle, developed in the first decades of the 20th century, states that an ideal catalyst should bind a substrate neither too strongly nor too weakly. Today, this simple idea provides the fundamental underpinning for “volcano plots”,[2,3] which are abundantly used in heterogeneous and electrocatalysis.
Recently, Prof. Corminboeouf's group have elaborated a computational toolkit based on Sabatier's principle that facilitates the identification of overarching trends present in the “catalysis space” and provides new insights in the best places to “look” for homogeneous catalysts having high activity.
For a given reaction, prospective species anticipated to exhibit enhanced activity can be identified and accompanying design principles that should be useful for synthetic chemists constructed. The combination of these tools with supervised machine-learning techniques enable the expansion of the pool of examined catalysts to over 105 species.
The large quantity of data generated can be compiled and mined into an interactive tool, which facilitates the analysis and assists in identifying the most compatible metal/ligand family combinations with the goal of establishing relationships between the intrinsic chemical properties of different catalysts and their overall catalytic performance. Prof. Corminboeouf's group focus on both prototypical classes reactions and challenging organic processes and highlight some of the pro and cons of the overall approach.
 P. Sabatier, Ber. Dtsch. Chem. Ges. 1911, 44, 1984.
 H. Gerischer, Bull. Soc. Chim. Belg. 1958, 65, 506.
 R. Parsons, Trans. Faraday Soc. 1958, 54, 1053.
 J. K. Nørskov, T. Bligaard, J. Rossmeisl, C. H. Christensen, Nat. Chem. 2009, 1, 37.
 M. D. Wodrich, B. Sawatrlon, M. Busch, , C. Corminboeuf, Acc. Chem. Res. 2021, 6, 6754.