A multivariate insight into lanthanide triflates descriptors allowed derivation of three principal properties (PPs). The first one resembling the lanthanide sequence in the periodic table, the second one reflecting the discontinuity in lanthanides properties, the so called 'gadolinium break', and the third one related to the change of coordination number of Ln ions in aqueous solution from nine to eight around Sm-Gd. Experimental support to the predicting ability of the above PPs as descriptors in the prediction of the yields for the synthesis of alpha-tocopherol from a selected set of four triflate catalysts (La. Eu, Er, Lu) was provided, opening new horizons for a rational selection in multivariate experimental design of Ln triflates catalysed organic reactions. Copyright (c) 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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