Rapid Synthesis, Characterization, and Catalytic Function of Rhodium(III) and Iridium(III) Chloro-bridged Dimers

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Virginia Tech


Rh(III) and Ir(III) dimeric complexes with tunable cyclopentadienyl (Cp) rings have proven versatile for both catalysis and as synthetic precursors. An efficient microwave method to synthesize Rh(III) and Ir(III) dimeric complexes [(η5-ring)MCl]2(μ2-Cl)2, (where (η5-ring)MCl = (η5-Me4C5R)Rh(III)Cl or (η5-Me4C5R)Ir(III)Cl) was developed. A modular design for the substituted cyclopentadienes HC5Me4R was based on Grignard reactions of 2,3,4,5-tetramethylcyclopent-2-en-1-one (R = alkyl, 12 examples; R = aryl, 3 examples) or by SNAr reactions of potassium tetramethylcyclopentadienide with perfluoroarenes (R = perfluoroaryl, 3 examples). Reaction of the Me4CpHR ligands with M(COD)2 (M = Rh, Ir; COD = 1,5-cyclooctadiene) produced the dimeric complexes [Cp*RMCl]2(μ2-Cl)2 in moderate to excellent yield. The resulting dimers were characterized by nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, single-crystal X-ray diffraction (XRD), high-resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS), elemental analysis, and examined as catalysts for oxidative lactonization of 1,4- and 1,5-diols.

Oxidative lactonization of 1,4-butanediol to afford γ-butyrolactone proceeded selectively and efficiently using [(η5-Me4C5R)IrCl]2(μ2-Cl)2 as the catalyst. Several R substituents were tested to assess electronic substituent effects. The most active complex contained an electron donating group, R = CHMe2 and successfully catalyzed the formation of diols to lactones across a range of 1,4- and 1,5-diols, generally in high yield. Computational analysis of the rate-determining b-hydrogen elimination reactions provided an atomistic account of observed trends in reaction yield and selectivity as a function of substrate structure, while accounting neatly for the observed selective formation of lactones (vs. succinaldehyde) in the transfer dehydrogenation of 1,4-butyrolactone.



iridium, rhodium, lactone, oxidative lactonization, transfer dehydrogenation, microwave synthesis, ligand effects