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A Study on Applications of N-Substituted Main-Chain NHC-Palladium Polymers as Recyclable Self-Supported Catalysts for the Suzuki–Miyaura Coupling of Aryl Chlorides in Water

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journal contribution
posted on 04.07.2011, 00:00 by Babak Karimi, Pari Fadavi Akhavan
The preparation and characterization of a number of main-chain organometallic polymers (NHC-Pd MCOP) with different N-alkyl substituted groups such as benzyl (3a), n-hexyl (3b), and n-dodecyl (3c) are described. Among these polymers, 3c bearing the more lipophilic group n-dodecyl was found to be a more reactive and recoverable catalytic system in the Suzuki–Miyaura cross-coupling reaction of chloroarenes, including both deactivated and hindered aryl chlorides with different types of arylboronic acids under aqueous conditions. While the catalysts seem to be highly recyclable, on the contrary, we have provided much compelling evidence, such as kinetic monitoring, poisoning experiments, and average molecular weight determination before and after catalysis, that shows that the described organometallic polymers might be indeed the source of production of active soluble Pd species in the form of either Pd nanoparticles or fragmented NHC-Pd complexes. Our studies showed that in order to assess whether the catalysts are functioning in a heterogeneous pathway or they are simply a source of production of active Pd species, it is crucial to devise a suitable and highly efficient poison that could capture essentially soluble catalytic species. In this regard, we interestingly found that among a variety of well-known catalyst poisons such as Hg(0), SBA-15-PrSH, and cross-linked poly(4-vinylpyridine) (PVP), only PVP could efficiently quench catalysis, thus providing clear evidence of the formation soluble Pd species in our protocol. In addition, several experiments such as bright-field microscopy, dynamic light scattering (DLS) of the reaction mixture, and kinetic monitoring of the reaction at an early stage confirm not only that the described organometallic polymers could be a source of production of trace amounts of Pd nanoparticles but the capsular structures of these lipophilic polymers in water provides a means of entrapment of nanoclusters in a hydrophobic region, thus accelerating the reaction in pure water in the absence of any co-organic solvent.