NordCO2 PI Mårten S. G. Ahlquist and collaborators have recently published an article presenting DFT calculations for the steps of the mechanism of the Ir/Co-catalyzed photocarboxylation of alkynes. Their work highlights the importance of electron transfer during the rate limiting step of the reaction.

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Photocarboxylation of alkyne with carbon dioxide represents a highly attractive strategy to prepare functionalized alkenes with high efficiency and atomic economy. However, the reaction mechanism, especially the sequence of elementary steps (leading to different reaction pathways), reaction modes of the H-transfer step and carboxylation step, spin and charge states of the cobalt catalyst, etc., is still an open question. Herein, density functional theory calculations are carried out to probe the mechanism of the Ir/Co-catalyzed photocarboxylation of alkynes. The overall catalytic cycle mainly consists of four steps: reductive-quenching of the Ir catalyst, hydrogen transfer (rate-determining step), outer sphere carboxylation, and the final catalyst regeneration step. Importantly, the cobalt catalyst can facilitate the H-transfer by an uncommon hydride coupled electron transfer (HCET) process. The pivotal electron delivery effect of the Co center enables a facile H-transfer to the α-C(alkyne) of the aryl group, resulting in the high regioselectivity for β-carboxylation.

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You can find a list of publications by NordCO2 on our Publications page.