Mechanistic Studies on Ruthenium-Catalyzed Hydrogen Transfer Reactions

by Åberg, Jenny B.

Abstract (Summary)

Mechanistic studies on three different ruthenium-based catalysts have been performed. The catalysts have in common that they have been employed in hydrogen transfer reactions involving alcohols and ketones, amines and imines or both.

Bäckvall’s catalyst, ?5-(Ph5C5)Ru(CO)2Cl, finds its application as racemization catalyst in dynamic kinetic resolution, where racemic alcohols are converted to enantiopure acetates in high yields. The mechanism of the racemization has been investigated and both alkoxide and alkoxyacyl intermediates have been characterized by NMR spectroscopy and in situ FT-IR measurements. The presence of acyl intermediates supports a mechanism via CO assistance. Substantial support for coordination of the substrate during the racemization cycle is provided, including exchange studies with both external and internal potential ketone traps. We also detected an unexpected alkoxycarbonyl complex from 5-hydroxy-1-hexene, which has the double bond coordinated to ruthenium.

Shvo’s catalyst, [Ru2(CO)4(?-H)(C4Ph4COHOCC4Ph4)] is a powerful catalyst for transfer hydrogenation as well as for dynamic kinetic resolution. The mechanism of this catalyst is still under debate, even though a great number of studies have been published during the past decade. In the present work, the mechanism of the reaction with imines has been investigated. Exchange studies with both an external and an internal amine as potential traps have been performed and the results can be explained by a stepwise inner-sphere mechanism. However, if there is e.g. a solvent cage effect, the results can also be explained by an outer-sphere mechanism. We have found that there is no cage effect in the reduction of a ketone containing a potential internal amine trap. If the mechanism is outer-sphere, an explanation as to why the solvent cage effect is much stronger in the case of imines than ketones is needed.

Noyori’s catalyst, [p-(Me2CH)C6H4Me]RuH(NH2CHPhCHPhNSO2C6H4-p-CH3), has successfully been used to produce chiral alcohols and amines via transfer hydrogenation. The present study shows that the mechanism for the reduction of imines is different from that of ketones and aldehydes. Acidic activation of the imine was found necessary and an ionic mechanism was proposed.

Bibliographical Information:


School:Stockholms universitet

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Doctoral Dissertation

Keywords:NATURAL SCIENCES; Chemistry; Organic chemistry; mechanistic studies; catalysis; ruthenium; hydrogen transfer; racemization; transfer hydrogenation; alcohols; ketones; amines; imines; inner-sphere; outer-sphere; solvent cage effect; organisk kemi; Organic Chemistry


Date of Publication:01/01/2009

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