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Rh(CAAC)-Catalyzed Arene Hydrogenation: Evidence for Nanocatalysis and Sterically Controlled Site-Selective Hydrogenation

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journal contribution
posted on 30.07.2018, 00:00 authored by Ba L. Tran, John L. Fulton, John C. Linehan, Johannes A. Lercher, R. Morris Bullock
We report the arene hydrogenation of ethers, amides, and esters at room temperature and low hydrogen pressure, starting from [(CAAC)­Rh­(COD)­Cl] (CAAC = cyclic alkyl amino carbene). Kinetic, mechanistic, and Rh K-edge XAFS studies showed formation of Rh nanoparticles from [(CAAC)­Rh­(COD)­Cl], in contrast to a previous report of [(CAAC)­Rh­(COD)­Cl] functioning as a homogeneous catalyst for arene hydrogenation. We determined that the site-selective arene hydrogenation catalyzed by this system is under steric control, as shown by detailed competition experiments with derivatives of ethers, amides, and esters bearing different aromatic rings of varying electronic and steric influence. This work illustrates the potential of CAAC ligands in the formation and stabilization of a colloidal dispersion of stable nanoparticle catalysts.