Water-soluble transition metal complexes of ruthenium(ii), osmium(ii), rhodium(iii) and iridium(iii) with chelating N-heterocyclic carbene ligands in hydrogenation and transfer hydrogenation catalysis.

Author(s) Castañón, E.Bayón; Kaposi, M.; Reich, R.M.; Kühn, F.E.
Journal Dalton Trans
Date Published 2018 Feb 13

The synthesis of novel Ru(ii), Os(ii), Rh(iii) and Ir(iii) mono-N-heterocyclic carbene (NHC) complexes with a pyridine substituent is reported. The reaction of the imidazolium salts bearing N-alkyl and sulfonated N-alkyl substituents with Ag2O leads to the formation of the corresponding Ag(i) complexes. The metal complexes are available in good yields via transmetallation reactions from the corresponding silver complexes and [ArMCl2]2, where Ar = p-cymene or Cp* and M = Ru, Os, Rh or Ir. While N-alkyl substituted NHC complexes are almost insoluble in water (1.55 mg ml-1), sulfonated N-alkyl substituted NHC complexes display good solubility in water (up to 400 mg mL-1). All complexes were examined as catalysts in the transfer hydrogenation of acetophenone, which is quantitatively and highly selective reduced to 1-phenylethanol and 1-cyclohexylethanol. Additionally, the water-soluble complexes were examined in the complete hydrogenation of acetophenone with hydrogen in an autoclave, showing high conversions compared to literature-known systems.

DOI 10.1039/c7dt04684g
ISSN 1477-9234
Citation Dalton Trans. 2018;47(7):23182329.

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