om6b00607_si_002.cif (4.49 MB)

Modulating the Elementary Steps of Methanol Carbonylation by Bridging the Primary and Secondary Coordination Spheres

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posted on 30.08.2016, 17:35 by Lauren C. Gregor, Javier Grajeda, Matthew R. Kita, Peter S. White, Andrew J. Vetter, Alexander J. M. Miller
The rate of catalytic methanol carbonylation to acetic acid is typically limited by either the oxidative addition of methyl iodide or the subsequent C–C bond-forming migratory insertion step. These elementary steps have been studied independently in acetonitrile solution for iridium amino­phenyl­phosphinite (NCOP) complexes. The modular synthesis of NCOP ligands containing a macrocyclic aza-crown ether arm enables a direct comparison of two complementary catalyst optimization strategies: synthetic modification of the phenyl backbone and noncovalent modification through cation–crown interactions with Lewis acids in the surrounding environment. The oxidative addition of methyl iodide to iridium­(I) carbonyl complexes proceeds readily at room temperature to form iridium­(III) methyl­carbonyl­iodide complexes. The methyl complexes undergo migratory insertion under 1 atm CO at 70 °C to produce iridium­(III) acetyl species. Synthetic tuning, by incorporation of a methoxy group into the ligand backbone, had little influence on the rate. The addition of lithium and lanthanum salts, in contrast, enhanced the rate of C–C bond formation up to 25-fold. In the case of neutral iodide complexes, mechanistic studies suggest that Lewis acidic cations act as halide abstractors. In halide-free, cationic iridium complexes, the cations bind the macrocyclic ligand arm, further activating the iridium­(III) center. The macrocyclic ligand is essential to the observed reactivity: complexes supported by acyclic diethylamine-containing ligands underwent migratory insertion slowly, Lewis acid effects were negligible, and the acetyl products decomposed over time.