Ketone Hydrogenation with Iridium Complexes with “non N–H” Ligands: The Key Role of the Strong Base

Hayes, Joseph M. orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-7745-9616, Deydier, Eric, Ujaque, Gregori, Lledós, Agustí, Malacea-Kabbara, Raluca, Manoury, Eric, Vincendeau, Sandrine and Poli, Rinaldo (2015) Ketone Hydrogenation with Iridium Complexes with “non N–H” Ligands: The Key Role of the Strong Base. ACS Catalysis, 5 (7). pp. 4368-4376. ISSN 2155-5435

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Ferrocenyl phosphine thioether ligands (PS), not containing deprotonatable functions, efficiently support the iridium catalyzed ketone hydrogenation in combination with a strong base co-catalyst. Use of an internal base ([Ir(OMe)(COD)]2 in place of [IrCl(COD)]2) is not sufficient to insure activity and a strong base is still necessary, suggesting that the active catalyst is an anionic hydride complex. Computational investigations that include solvent effects demonstrate the thermodynamically accessible generation of the tetrahydrido complex [IrH4(PS)]-and suggest an
operating cycle via a [Na+(MeOH)3∙∙∙Ir-H4(PS)] contact ion pair with an energy span of 18.2 kcal/mol. The cycle involves an outer sphere stepwise H-/H+ transfer, the proton originating from
H2 after coordination and heterolytic activation. The base plays the dual role of generating the anionic complex and providing the Lewis acid co-catalyst for ketone activation. The best cycle for
the neutral system, on the other hand, requires an energy span of 26.3 kcal/mol. This work highlights, for the first time, the possibility of outer sphere hydrogenation in the presence of non deprotonatable ligands and the role of the strong base in the activation of catalytic systems with such type of ligands.

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