Date: August 29, 2013
Creator: Holland, Patrick L.
Description: Organometallic chemists have traditionally used catalysts with strong-field ligands that give low-spin complexes. However, complexes with a weak ligand field have weaker bonds and lower barriers to geometric changes, suggesting that they may lead to more rapid catalytic reactions. Developing our understanding of high-spin complexes requires the use of a broader range of spectroscopic techniques, but has the promise of changing the mechanism and/or selectivity of known catalytic reactions. These changes may enable the more efficient utilization of chemical resources. A special advantage of cobalt and iron catalysts is that the metals are more abundant and cheaper than those currently used for major industrial processes that convert unsaturated organic molecules and biofeedstocks into useful chemicals. This project specifically evaluated the potential of high-spin cobalt complexes for small-molecule reactions for bond rearrangement and cleavage reactions relevant to hydrocarbon transformations. We have learned that many of these reactions proceed through crossing to different spin states: for example, high-spin complexes can flip one electron spin to access a lower-energy reaction pathway for beta-hydride elimination. This reaction enables new, selective olefin isomerization catalysis. The high-spin cobalt complexes also cleave the C-O bond of CO2 and the C-F bonds of fluoroarenes. In each case, the ...
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