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Highly selective and solvent-dependent reduction of Nitrobenzene to N-phenylhydroxylamine, azoxybenzene, and aniline catalyzed by phosphino-modified polymer immobilized ionic liquid-stabilized AuNPs

Doherty, S., Knight, J. G., Backhouse, T., Summers, R. J., Abood, E., Simpson, W., Paget, W., Bourne, R. A., Chamberlain, T. W., Stones, R., Lovelock, K. R. J., Seymour, J. M., Isaacs, M. A., Hardacre, C., Daly, H. and Rees, N. H. (2019) Highly selective and solvent-dependent reduction of Nitrobenzene to N-phenylhydroxylamine, azoxybenzene, and aniline catalyzed by phosphino-modified polymer immobilized ionic liquid-stabilized AuNPs. ACS Catalysis, 9 (6). pp. 4777-4791. ISSN 2155-5435

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1021/acscatal.9b00347

Abstract/Summary

Gold nanoparticles stabilized by phosphine-decorated polymer immobilized ionic liquids (AuNP@PPh2-PIILP) is an extremely efficient multiproduct selective catalyst for the sodium borohydride-mediated reduction of nitrobenzene giving N-phenylhydroxylamine, azoxybenzene, or aniline as the sole product under mild conditions and a very low catalyst loading. The use of a single nanoparticle-based catalyst for the partial and complete reduction of nitroarenes to afford three different products with exceptionally high selectivities is unprecedented. Under optimum conditions, thermodynamically unfavorable N-phenylhydroxylamine can be obtained as the sole product in near quantitative yield in water, whereas a change in reaction solvent to ethanol results in a dramatic switch in selectivity to afford azoxybenzene. The key to obtaining such a high selectivity for N-phenylhydroxylamine is the use of a nitrogen atmosphere at room temperature as reactions conducted under an inert atmosphere occur via the direct pathway and are essentially irreversible, while reactions in air afford significant amounts of azoxy-based products by virtue of competing condensation due to reversible formation of N-phenylhydroxylamine. Ultimately, aniline can also be obtained quantitatively and selectively by adjusting the reaction temperature and time accordingly. Introduction of PEG onto the polyionic liquid resulted in a dramatic improvement in catalyst efficiency such that N-phenylhydroxylamine could be obtained with a turnover number (TON) of 100 000 (turnover frequency (TOF) of 73 000 h–1, with >99% selectivity), azoxybenzene with a TON of 55 000 (TOF of 37 000 h–1 with 100% selectivity), and aniline with a TON of 500 000 (TOF of 62 500 h–1, with 100% selectivity). As the combination of ionic liquid and phosphine is required to achieve high activity and selectivity, further studies are currently underway to explore whether interfacial electronic effects influence adsorption and thereby selectivity and whether channeling of the substrate by the electrostatic potential around the AuNPs is responsible for the high activity. This is the first report of a AuNP-based system that can selectively reduce nitroarenes to either of two synthetically important intermediates as well as aniline and, in this regard, is an exciting discovery that will form the basis to develop a continuous flow process enabling facile scale-up.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy > Department of Chemistry
ID Code:83932
Publisher:ACS Publications

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