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Theoretical Study of Oxidative Additions of H2 and MeCN to a Nickel(0) Complex:  Significantly Large Correlation Effects and Characteristic Features of the Reaction

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journal contribution
posted on 16.08.2007 by Yu-ya Ohnishi, Yoshihide Nakao, Hirofumi Sato, Shigeyoshi Sakaki
Oxidative addition of H2 to Ni(PH3)2 was theoretically studied as a prototype of nickel-catalyzed σ-bond activation reaction, where CASSCF, CASPT2, CCSD(T), broken symmetry (Bs) MP2 to MP4(SDTQ), and DFT methods were employed. The CASPT2 method yields a reliable potential energy curve (PEC) when the active space consists of 10 electrons and 10 orbitals including five outer 3d‘ orbitals. The CCSD(T) method presents almost the same PEC as the CASPT2-calculated one, when either the ANO or the cc-pVTZ basis set is used for Ni. Bs-MP4(SDTQ)-calculated PEC is similar to those calculated by the CASPT2/ANO method, while the PEC is not smooth around the transition state. In the DFT calculation, ANO, cc-pVTZ, and triple-ζ quality basis sets (SDB) with Stuttgart−Dresden−Bonn effective core potentials (ECPs) must be used for Ni. The DFT-calculated reaction energy is somewhat smaller than the CASPT2- and CCSD(T)-calculated values, while B3PW91 and mPW1PW91 present moderately better energy changes than BLYP, B1LYP, and B3LYP. Oxidative addition of MeCN to Ni(PH3)2 was investigated by the DFT(B3PW91) and CCSD(T) methods. Almost the same activation barrier was calculated by these methods, when cc-pVTZ was employed for Ni. However, the DFT method moderately underestimates the binding energy of the reactant complex and the reaction energy compared to the CCSD(T) method. This oxidative addition exhibits interesting characteristic features, as follows:  The barrier height relative to infinite separation is lower, and the product is more stable than those of the oxidative addition of C2H6. These differences are discussed in detail in terms of Ni−Me and Ni−CN bond energies and the participation of the CN π* orbital to stabilization interaction in the transition state.