Capturing fleeting intermediates in a catalytic C-H amination reaction cycle.
We have applied an ambient ionization technique, desorption electrospray ionization MS, to identify transient reactive species of an archetypal C-H amination reaction catalyzed by a dirhodium tetracarboxylate complex. Using this analytical method, we have detected previously proposed short-lived reaction intermediates, including two nitrenoid complexes that differ in oxidation state. Our findings suggest that an Rh-nitrene oxidant can react with hydrocarbon substrates through a hydrogen atom abstraction pathway and raise the intriguing possibility that two catalytic C-H amination pathways may be operative in a typical bulk solution reaction. As highlighted by these results, desorption electrospray ionization MS should have broad applicability for the mechanistic study of catalytic processes.
Perry, RH; Cahill, TJ; Roizen, JL; Du Bois, J; Zare, RN
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