Brzozowska, Aleksandra; Azofra, Luis Miguel; Zubar, Viktoriia; Atodiresei, Iuliana; Cavallo, Luigi; Rueping, Magnus; El-Sepelgy, Osama(ACS Catalysis, American Chemical Society (ACS), 2018-03-30)[Article]
The first example of manganese catalyzed semihydrogenation of internal alkynes to (Z)-alkenes using ammonia borane as a hydrogen donor is reported. The reaction is catalyzed by a pincer complex of the earth abundant manganese(II) salt in the absence of any additives, base or super hydride. The ammonia borane smoothly reduces the manganese pre-catalyst [Mn(II)-PNP][Cl]2 to the catalytically active species [Mn(I)-PNP]-hydride in the triplet spin state. This manganese hydride is highly stabilized by complexation with the alkyne substrate. Computational DFT analysis studies of the reaction mechanism rationalizes the origin of stereoselectivity towards formation of (Z)-alkenes.
Suryanto, Bryan Harry Rahmat; Kang, Colin Suk Mo; Wang, Dabin; Xiao, Changlong; Zhou, Fengling; Azofra, Luis Miguel; Cavallo, Luigi; Zhang, Xinyi; Macfarlane, Douglas R.(ACS Energy Letters, American Chemical Society (ACS), 2018-04-25)[Article]
Renewable energy driven ammonia electrosynthesis by N2 reduction reaction (NRR) at ambient conditions is vital for the sustainability of the global population and energy demand. However, NRR under ambient conditions to date has been plagued with low yield rate and selectivity (<10%) due to the more favourable hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) in aqueous media. Herein, surface area enhanced α-Fe nanorods grown on carbon fibre paper was used as a NRR cathode in an aprotic fluorinated solvent – ionic liquid mixture. Through this design, a significantly enhanced NRR activity with NH3 yield rate of ~2.35 × 10-11 mol s-1 cmGSA-2, (3.71 × 10-13 mol s-1 cmECSA-2) and selectivity of ~32% has been achieved under ambient conditions. This study reveals that the use of hydrophobic fluorinated aprotic electrolyte effectively limits the availability of protons and thus suppresses the competing HER. Therefore, electrode-electrolyte engineering is essential in advancing the NH3 electrosynthesis technology.
Falivene, Laura; Kozlov, Sergey M.; Cavallo, Luigi(ACS Catalysis, American Chemical Society (ACS), 2018-05-08)[Article]
Better catalysts are needed to address numerous challenges faced by humanity. In this perspective, we review concepts and tools in theoretical and computational chemistry that can help to accelerate the rational design of homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysts. In particular, we focus on the following three topics: 1) identification of key intermediates and transition states in a reaction using the energetic span model, 2) disentanglement of factors influencing the relative stability of the key species using energy decomposition analysis and the activation strain model, and 3) discovery of new catalysts using volcano relationships. To facilitate wider use of these techniques across different areas, we illustrate their potentials and pitfalls when applied to the study of homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysts.
Wang, Chengming; Maity, Bholanath; Cavallo, Luigi; Rueping, Magnus(Organic Letters, American Chemical Society (ACS), 2018-05-08)[Article]
A new efficient manganese-catalyzed selective C2-alkylation of indoles via carbenoid insertion has been achieved. The newly developed C-H functionalization protocol provides access to diverse products and shows good functional group tolerance. Mechanistic and computational studies support the formation of a Mn(CO)3 acetate complex as the catalytically active species.
Pluta, Roman; Krach, Patricia E.; Cavallo, Luigi; Falivene, Laura; Rueping, Magnus(ACS Catalysis, American Chemical Society (ACS), 2018-02-09)[Article]
A chiral iodoarene organocatalyst for the catalytic asymmetric fluorination has been developed. The catalyst was used in the asymmetric fluorination of carbonyl compounds, providing the products with a quaternary stereocenter with high enantioselectivities. Chiral hypervalent iodine difluoride intermediates were generated in situ by treatment of the catalyst with an oxidant and hydrogen fluoride as fluoride source. As such, the α-fluorination of a carbonyl compound was achieved with a nucleophilic fluorine source. A combined computational and experimental approach provided insight into the reaction mechanism and the origin of enantioselectivity.
Minenkov, Yury; Sharapa, Dmitry I.; Cavallo, Luigi(Journal of Chemical Theory and Computation, American Chemical Society (ACS), 2018-05-22)[Article]
A series of semiempirical PM6* and PM7 methods has been tested in reproducing of relative conformational energies of 27 realistic-size complexes of 16 different transition metals (TMs). An analysis of relative energies derived from single-point energy evaluations on density functional theory (DFT) optimized conformers revealed pronounced deviations between semiempirical and DFT methods indicating fundamental difference in potential energy surfaces (PES). To identify the origin of the deviation, we compared fully optimized PM7 and respective DFT conformers. For many complexes, differences in PM7 and DFT conformational energies have been confirmed often manifesting themselves in false coordination of some atoms (H, O) to TMs and chemical transformations/distortion of coordination center geometry in PM7 structures. Despite geometry optimization with fixed coordination center geometry leads to some improvements in conformational energies, the resulting accuracy is still too low to recommend explored semiempirical methods for out-of-the-box conformational search/sampling: careful testing is always needed.
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