Date: August 24, 2001
Creator: Smith, Jeremy M.; Lachicotte, Rene J.; Pittard, Karl A.; Cundari, Thomas R., 1964-; Lukat-Rodgers, Gudrun; Rodgers, Kenton R. et al
Description: This article discusses stepwise reduction of dinitrogen bond order by a low-coordinate iron complex. Conversion of atmospheric N₂ into NH₃ is one of the most important chemical processes, because ammonia is the industrial and biological precursor to many nitrogen-containing compounds. Large-scale transformation of N₂ and H₂ into ammonia is performed in industry by the Haber-Bosch process, using "potassium-promoted" porous iron. A view of the N₂-reducing active site of iron-molybdenum nitrogenase, which contains unusual iron atoms with only three sulfur donors, is shown in Chart 1. The presence of iron in the active sites of this and other nitrogenases suggests that iron is again important for activating dinitrogen. Thus iron plays a major role in both natural and industrial N₂ reduction catalysis.
Contributing Partner: UNT College of Arts and Sciences