Electrochemical reduction of CO2 catalyzed by [Pd(triphosphine)(solvent)](BF4)2 complexes: Synthetic and mechanistic studies

Daniel L DuBois, Alex Miedaner, R. Curtis Haltiwanger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

152 Citations (Scopus)


The free radical addition of phosphorus-hydrogen bonds to carbon-carbon double bonds has been used to prepare a number of new tridentate ligands containing phosphorus. Reactions of these tridentate ligands with [Pd(CH3CN)4](BF4)2 yield the corresponding [Pd(tridentate)(CH3CN)](BF4)2 complexes. These complexes catalyze the electrochemical reduction of CO2 to CO in acidic dimethylformamide or acetonitrile solutions if the tridentate ligand is a linear triphosphine ligand. Complexes in which one or more of the phosphorus atoms of the tridentate ligand have been substituted with a nitrogen or sulfur heteroatom do not catalyze the electrochemical reduction of CO2. Kinetic studies on [Pd(etpC)(CH3CN)](BPh4)2 (where etpC is bis[(dicyclohexylphosphino)ethyl]phenylphosphine) show that, at acid concentrations above 1.0 × 10-2 M, the reaction is first order in catalyst. First order in CO2, and independent of acid concentration. At acid concentrations less than 4.0 × 10-3 M, the catalytic rate is first order in catalyst, second order in acid, and independent of CO2. The rate is also solvent dependent. A mechanism is proposed to account for these data. Comparison of the rate constants for catalysts with different alkyl and aryl substituents on the terminal phosphorus atoms indicates that the rate of reaction of the palladium(I) intermediates with CO2 increases with the electron-donating ability of the R groups, and that steric interactions are of less importance. In contrast, the rate constants decrease with increasing steric bulk for substituents on the central phosphorus atoms of the triphosphine ligand. Other relationships between ligand structure and catalyst activity, selectivity, and stability are also discussed. An X-ray diffraction study of the catalytic decomposition product [Pd(etp)]2(BF4)2 (where etp is bis[(diphenylphosphino)-ethyl]phenylphosphine) has been carried out. [Pd(etp)]2(BF4)2 crystallizes in the monoclinic space group P21/n with a = 13.842 (6) Å, b = 28.055 (8) Å, c = 19.596 (7) Å, β = 95.80 (3)°, v = 7571 (5) Å3, and Z = 4. The structure was refined to R = 0.057 and Rw = 0.0809 for 10352 independent reflections (F > 6σ(F)). This Pd(I) dimer is bridged by two triphosphine ligands. A dihedral angle of 67° exists between the two nearly square planar PdP3 fragments of [Pd(etp)]2(BF4)2. This dimer can be reoxidized to regenerate the catalytically active complexes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8753-8764
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Electrochemical reduction of CO2 catalyzed by [Pd(triphosphine)(solvent)](BF4)2 complexes: Synthetic and mechanistic studies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this