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Computational Studies of C–H/C–C Manipulation Utilizing Transition Metal Complexes

Description: Density Functional Theory (DFT) is an effective tool for studying diverse metal systems. Presented herein are studies of a variety of metal systems, which can be applied to accomplish transformations that are currently difficult/impossible to achieve. The specific topics studied utilizing DFT include: 1) C–H bond activation via an Earth-abundant transition metal complex, 2) C–H bond deprotonation via an alkali metal superbase, 3) and amination/aziridination reactions utilizing a CuI reagent. Using DFT, the transformation to methanol (CH3OH) from methane (CH4) was examined. The transition metal systems studied for this transformation included a model FeII complex. This first-row transition metal is an economical, Earth-abundant metal. The ligand set for this transformation includes a carbonyl ligand in one set of complexes as well as a phosphite ligand in another. The 3d Fe metal shows the ability to convert alkyls/aryls to their oxidized counterpart in an energetically favorable manner. Also, “superbasic” alkali metal amides were investigated to perform C—H bond cleavage. Toluene was the substrate of interest with Cs chosen to be the metal of interest because of the highly electropositive nature of this alkali metal. These highly electrophilic Cs metal systems allow for very favorable C—H bond scission with a toluene substrate. Finally, the amination and aziridination of C–H and C=C bonds, respectively, by a CuI reagent was studied. The mechanism was investigated using DFT calculations. Presently, these mechanisms involving the use of coinage metals are debated. Our DFT simulations shed some insight into how these transformations occur and ultimately how they can be manipulated.
Date: May 2015
Creator: Pardue, Daniel B.