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Spectro-electrochemical and DFT studies of a planar Cu(II)–phenolate complex active in the aerobic oxidation of primary alcohols

Uma Maheswari, P., Hartl, F., Quesada, M., Buda, F., Lutz, M., Spek, A. L., Gamez, P. and Reedijk, J. (2011) Spectro-electrochemical and DFT studies of a planar Cu(II)–phenolate complex active in the aerobic oxidation of primary alcohols. Inorganica Chimica Acta, 374 (1). pp. 406-414. ISSN 0020-1693

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.ica.2011.03.029


A square-planar compound [Cu(pyrimol)Cl] (pyrimol = 4-methyl-2-N-(2-pyridylmethylene)aminophenolate) abbreviated as CuL–Cl) is described as a biomimetic model of the enzyme galactose oxidase (GOase). This copper(II) compound is capable of stoichiometric aerobic oxidation of activated primary alcohols in acetonitrile/water to the corresponding aldehydes. It can be obtained either from Hpyrimol (HL) or its reduced/hydrogenated form Hpyramol (4-methyl-2-N-(2-pyridylmethyl)aminophenol; H2L) readily converting to pyrimol (L-) on coordination to the copper(II) ion. Crystalline CuL–Cl and its bromide derivative exhibit a perfect square-planar geometry with Cu–O(phenolate) bond lengths of 1.944(2) and 1.938(2) Å. The cyclic voltammogram of CuL–Cl exhibits an irreversible anodic wave at +0.50 and +0.57 V versus ferrocene/ferrocenium (Fc/Fc+) in dry dichloromethane and acetonitrile, respectively, corresponding to oxidation of the phenolate ligand to the corresponding phenoxyl radical. In the strongly donating acetonitrile the oxidation path involves reversible solvent coordination at the Cu(II) centre. The presence of the dominant CuII–L. chromophore in the electrochemically and chemically oxidised species is evident from a new fairly intense electronic absorption at 400–480 nm ascribed to a several electronic transitions having a mixed pi-pi(L.) intraligand and Cu–Cl -> L. charge transfer character. The EPR signal of CuL–Cl disappears on oxidation due to strong intramolecular antiferromagnetic exchange coupling between the phenoxyl radical ligand (L.) and the copper(II) centre, giving rise to a singlet ground state (S = 0). The key step in the mechanism of the primary alcohol oxidation by CuL–Cl is probably the alpha-hydrogen abstraction from the equatorially bound alcoholate by the phenoxyl moiety in the oxidised pyrimol ligand, Cu–L., through a five-membered cyclic transition state.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy > Department of Chemistry
Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Chemical Analysis Facility (CAF)
ID Code:22473
Uncontrolled Keywords:Copper(II); Galactose oxidase; Primary alcohol oxidation; Magnetic susceptibility; Spectro-electrochemistry; DFT

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