NordCO2 postdoc Ljiljana Pavlovic and PI Kathrin Hopmann have collaborated with the Hazari Group from Yale for their study on “the insertion of CO2 into palladium and nickel methyl complexes supported by RPBP […] pincer ligands”. They performed the computational analysis part of the study, where they investigated the plausible pathways for insertion.

Graphical abstract: Ligand and solvent effects on CO2 insertion into group 10 metal alkyl bonds

Ligand and solvent effects on CO2 insertion into group 10 metal alkyl bonds

The insertion of carbon dioxide into metal element σ-bonds is an important elementary step in many catalytic reactions for carbon dioxide valorization. Here, the insertion of carbon dioxide into a family of group 10 alkyl complexes of the type (RPBP)M(CH3) (RPBP = B(NCH2PR2)2C6H4; R = Cy or tBu; M = Ni or Pd) to generate κ1-acetate complexes of the form (RPBP)M{OC(O)CH3} is investigated. This involved the preparation and characterization of a number of new complexes supported by the unusual RPBP ligand, which features a central boryl donor that exerts a strong trans-influence, and the identification of a new decomposition pathway that results in C–B bond formation. In contrast to other group 10 methyl complexes supported by pincer ligands, carbon dioxide insertion into (RPBP)M(CH3) is facile and occurs at room temperature because of the high trans-influence of the boryl donor. Given the mild conditions for carbon dioxide insertion, we perform a rare kinetic study on carbon dioxide insertion into a late-transition metal alkyl species using (tBuPBP)Pd(CH3). These studies demonstrate that the Dimroth–Reichardt parameter for a solvent correlates with the rate of carbon dioxide insertion and that Lewis acids do not promote insertion. DFT calculations indicate that insertion into (tBuPBP)M(CH3) (M = Ni or Pd) proceeds via an SE2 mechanism and we compare the reaction pathway for carbon dioxide insertion into group 10 methyl complexes with insertion into group 10 hydrides. Overall, this work provides fundamental insight that will be valuable for the development of improved and new catalysts for carbon dioxide utilization.

Find a list of publications by NordCO2 members on our Publications page 🙂