Electron-rich PNP-and PNN-type ruthenium(ii) hydrido borohydride pincer complexes. synthesis, structure, and catalytic dehydrogenation of alcohols and hydrogenation of esters

Jing Zhang, Ekambaram Balaraman, Gregory Leitus, David Milstein

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Electron-rich PNP-and PNN-type ruthenium(II) hydrido borohydride pincer complexes, [RuH(BH4)(tBu-PNP)] (tBu-PNP = (2,6-bis(di-tert-butylphosphinomethyl)pyridine) (5) and [RuH(BH 4)(tBu-PNN)] (tBu-PNN = 2-di-tert- butylphosphinomethyl-6-diethylaminomethylpyridine) (6), were prepared from their corresponding N2-bridged dinuclear Ru(II) complexes [(tBu-PNP) RuCl2]2(μ-N2) (3) and [(tBu-PNN) RuCl2]2(μ-N2) (4), respectively. The X-ray structure of 5 reveals a BH4 -anion η2 coordinated to ruthenium through two bridging hydrides. A variable-temperature 1H NMR study of 6 exhibits interesting fluxional behavior of the BH4 -ligand. Similarly, the Ru(II) hydrido borohydride complex 9, in which the BH4 -moiety is coordinated in a η1 bonding mode, was obtained by reaction of [RuCl 2(PPh3)(iPr-PNP)] (iPr-PNP = 2,6-bis(diisopropylphosphinomethyl)pyridine) (8) with two equivalents of NaBH4 at room temperature. The hydrido borohydride pincer complexes 5, 6, and 9 catalyze the acceptorless dehydrogenative coupling of primary alcohols to esters and the dehydrogenation of secondary alcohols to the corresponding ketones, accompanied by evolution of hydrogen gas. The reactivity follows the order 6 > 9 > 5. With the hydrido borohydride complex 6 as catalyst, high yields (up to 98%) and high turnover numbers (TON∼1000) were obtained in the dehydrogenation of primary alcohols under mild and neutral conditions. In addition, 6 effectively catalyzes the hydrogenation of nonactivated aromatic and aliphatic esters to the corresponding alcohols with TON ∼200 under a relatively mild pressure of dihydrogen and neutral and homogeneous conditions. Thus, an efficient homogeneous catalytic system for the dehydrogenation- hydrogenation reactions of alcohols is developed, which is relevant to the current interest in hydrogen storage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5716-5724
Number of pages9
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - Nov 14 2011


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry

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