A half-sandwich ruthenium(II) complex, [Ru(η(6)-p-cymene)(C-NH(2))Cl]PF(6) (4·PF(6)), containing an N-heterocyclic carbene (NHC) with a primary amine donor (C-NH(2)) which chelates through the carbene carbon and the amine nitrogen to form a 6-membered ring was synthesized in a one-pot reaction starting from a primary-amine functionalized imidazolium salt 2. Complex 4·PF(6) catalyzed the hydrogenation of ketones using 2-propanol or H(2) as the reductant. A maximum turnover frequency of 1062 h(-1) and a turnover number of 1140 at 5 h were achieved for the transfer hydrogenation of 3'-chloroacetophenone in 2-propanol at 75 °C. A cationic hydride-amine complex 5, [Ru(η(6)-p-cymene)(C-NH(2))H]PF(6), was synthesized, and this reacted very slowly with acetophenone unless first activated by an alkoxide base. Computational studies by DFT methods suggested that the poor reactivity of the hydride-amine complex 5 was attributed to a large barrier for the transfer of its H(+)/H(-) couple to a ketone for bifunctional catalysis. An inner-sphere mechanism, which involves a decoordinated amine group of the C-NH(2) ligand, was computed to be a feasible energetic pathway in comparison to the computed outer-sphere bifunctional mechanism. This explains the catalytic activity and selectivity that is observed for the newly synthesized ruthenium(II) catalysts.
Dalton Transactions 06/2012; 41(29):8797-808. DOI:10.1039/c2dt30994g · 4.10 Impact Factor