A sensor has been developed to quickly and simply assess the relative reactivity of different hydrogen-bonding catalysts. Specifically, blue-shifts seen upon treatment of H-bonding catalysts with the colorimetric compound 7-methyl-2-phenylimidazo[1,2-a]pyrazin-3(7H)-one correlate well to the K(eq) of binding to the sensor. The blue-shifts also show a high degree of correlation with relative rates in Diels-Alder reactions of methyl vinyl ketone and cyclopentadiene employing the H-bonding catalysts. The relevance of the sensor blue-shifts to the LUMO-lowering abilities of the H-bonding catalysts is discussed.
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