A robust core-shell nanostructured nickel-iron alloy@nitrogen-containing carbon catalyst for the highly efficient hydrogenation of nitroarenes.

Author(s) Zhang, Y.; Liu, C.; Fan, G.; Yang, L.; Li, F.
Journal Dalton Trans
Date Published 2018 Sep 13

Currently, the catalytic selective hydrogenation of nitroarenes to produce aromatic amines is one of the most important key reactions in many fine chemical processes. In particular, non-noble-metal-catalyzed hydrogenation of nitroarenes represents more sustainable chemical processes. Here, we report a new robust and recyclable core-shell nanostructured nickel-iron alloy@nitrogen-containing carbon (NiFe@NC) catalyst and the beneficial effect of alloying Ni with Fe for the above reaction. The key to this synthetic strategy was thermally transforming the Ni-Fe layered double hydroxide (NiFe-LDH)/melamine mixture to form a fixed NiFe@NC nanostructure. A series of characterization results revealed the formation of NiFe alloy nanoparticles (NPs) coated with the NC overlayer. The as-fabricated NiFe@NC catalyst with a Ni/Fe atomic ratio of 3.0 exhibited superior activity for the reduction of the nitro group in o-chloronitrobenzene, with a 99.5% yield of o-chloroaniline under mild reaction conditions. The initial reaction rate over the catalyst was nearly three times that over the monometallic Ni@NC counterpart, and even one-order magnitude higher than that over pristine NiFe-LDH-derived NiFe alloy NPs. The extraordinary activity of NiFe@NC was reasonably attributed to the unique core-shell nanostructure, where both the NiFe alloy core and the NC overlayer shell could construct a significant promotional effect, being beneficial for the selective cleavage of the N-O bond. Recycling experiments indicated that the catalyst could be easily separated and recovered under an external magnetic field and experienced excellent recyclability during seventeen cycles without an obvious loss of catalytic activity. Furthermore, the present catalyst was also highly active for the chemoselective hydrogenation of other substituted nitroarenes bearing different functional groups to the corresponding anilines.

DOI 10.1039/c8dt03033b
ISSN 1477-9234
Citation Dalton Trans. 2018.

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