Assessing the impact of electronic and steric tuning of the ligand in the spin state and catalytic oxidation ability of the FeII(Pytacn) family of complexes

Irene Prat, Anna Company, Teresa Corona, Teodor Parella, Xavi Ribas, Miquel Costas

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    A family of iron complexes with the general formula [FeII( R,R′Pytacn)(X)2]n+ is described, where R,R′Pytacn is the tetradentate ligand 1-[(4-R′-6-R-2-pyridyl)methyl]-4,7-dimethyl-1,4,7-triazacyclononane, R refers to the group at the α-position of the pyridine, R′ corresponds to the group at the γ-position, and X denotes CH3CN or CF3SO3. Herein, we study the influence of the pyridine substituents R and R′ on the electronic properties of the coordinated iron center by a combination of structural and spectroscopic characterization using X-ray diffraction, 1H NMR and UV-vis spectroscopies, and magnetic susceptibility measurements. The electronic properties of the substituent in the γ-position of the pyridine ring (R′) modulate the strength of the ligand field, as shown by magnetic susceptibility measurements in CD3CN solution, which provide a direct indication of the population of the magnetically active high-spin S = 2 ferrous state. Indeed, a series of complexes [FeII(H,R′Pytacn)(CD 3CN)2]2+ exist as mixtures of high-spin (S = 2) and low-spin (S = 0) complexes, and their effective magnetic moment directly correlates with the electron-releasing ability of R′. On the other hand, the substitution of the hydrogen atom in the α-position of the pyridine by a methyl, chlorine, or fluorine group favors the high-spin state. The whole family of complexes has been assayed in catalytic C-H and C=C oxidation reactions with H2O2. These catalysts exhibit excellent efficiency in the stereospecific hydroxylation of alkanes and in the oxidation of olefins. Remarkably, R′-substituents have little influence on the efficiency and chemoselectivity of the catalytic activity of the complexes, but the selectivity toward olefin cis-dihydroxylation is enhanced for complexes with R = Me, F, or Cl. Isotopic labeling studies in the epoxidation and cis-dihydroxylation reactions show that R has a definitive role in dictating the origin of the oxygen atom that is transferred in the epoxidation reaction. © 2013 American Chemical Society.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)9229-9244
    JournalInorganic Chemistry
    Issue number16
    Publication statusPublished - 19 Aug 2013


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