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Structure and Chemistry of the Heteronuclear Oxo-Cluster [VPO4]•+: A Model System for the Gas-Phase Oxidation of Small Hydrocarbons

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journal contribution
posted on 06.03.2013, 00:00 by Nicolas Dietl, Torsten Wende, Kai Chen, Ling Jiang, Maria Schlangen, Xinhao Zhang, Knut R. Asmis, Helmut Schwarz
The heteronuclear oxo-cluster [VPO4]•+ is generated via electrospray ionization and investigated with respect to both its electronic structure as well as its gas-phase reactivity toward small hydrocarbons, thus permitting a comparison to the well-known vanadium-oxide cation [V2O4]•+. As described in previous studies, the latter oxide exhibits no or just minor reactivity toward small hydrocarbons, such as CH4, C2H6, C3H8, n-C4H10, and C2H4, while substitution of one vanadium by a phosphorus atom yields the reactive [VPO4]•+ ion; the latter brings about oxidative dehydrogenation (ODH) of saturated hydrocarbons, e.g., propane and butane as well as oxygen-atom transfer (OAT) to unsaturated hydrocarbons, e.g. ethene, at thermal conditions. Further, the gas-phase structure of [VPO4]•+ is determined by IR photodissociation spectroscopy and compared to that of [V2O4]•+. DFT calculations help to elucidate the reaction mechanism. The results underline the crucial role of phosphorus in terms of C–H bond activation of hydrocarbons by mixed VPO clusters.