American Chemical Society
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Unprecedented Catalysis of Cs+ Single Sites Confined in Y Zeolite Pores for Selective Csp3–H Bond Ammoxidation: Transformation of Inactive Cs+ Ions with a Noble Gas Electronic Structure to Active Cs+ Single Sites

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journal contribution
posted on 2021-05-24, 13:36 authored by Shankha S. Acharyya, Shilpi Ghosh, Yusuke Yoshida, Takuma Kaneko, Takehiko Sasaki, Yasuhiro Iwasawa
We report the transformation of Cs+ ions with an inactive noble gas electronic structure to active Cs+ single sites chemically confined in Y zeolite pores (Cs+/Y), which provides an unprecedented catalysis for oxidative cyanation (ammoxidation) of Csp3–H bonds with O2 and NH3, although in general, alkali and alkaline earth metal ions without a moderate redox property cannot activate Csp3–H bonds. The Cs+/Y catalyst was proved to be highly efficient in the synthesis of aromatic nitriles with yields >90% in the selective ammoxidation of toluene and its derivatives as test reactions. The mechanisms for the genesis of active Cs+ single sites and the ammoxidation pathway of Csp3–H bonds were rationalized by density functional theory (DFT) simulations. The chemical confinement of large-sized Cs+ ions with the pore architecture of a Y zeolite supercage rendered the highest occupied molecular orbital (HOMO)–lowest unoccupied molecular orbital (LUMO) gap reduction, HOMO component change, and preferable coordination arrangement for the selective reaction promotion, which provides a trimolecular assembly platform to enable the coordination-promoted concerted ammoxidation pathway working closely on each Cs+ single site. The new reaction pathway without involvement of O2-dissociated O atom and lattice oxygen differs from the traditional redox catalysis mechanisms for the selective ammoxidation.