The late first row transition metals, being inexpensive and environmentally benign, have become very attractive for sustainable catalyst development. However, to overcome the detrimental one electron redox processes exhibited by these metals, the employment of redox non-innocent chelates turned out to be very useful. The Trovitch group has designed a series of pentadentate bis(imino)pyridine ligands (pyridine diimine, PDI) that are capable of binding the metal center beyond their 3-N,N,N core and also possess coordination flexibility. My research is focused on developing PDI-supported manganese catalysts for organic transformations and renewable fuel production.
The thesis presents synthesis and characterization of a family of low valent (PDI)Mn complexes. Detailed electronic structure evaluation from spectroscopic and crystallographic data revealed electron transfer from the reduced metal center to the accessible ligand orbitals. One particular (PDI)Mn variant, (5-Ph2PPrPDI)Mn has been found to be the most efficient carbonyl hydrosilylation catalyst reported till date, achieving a maximum turnover frequency of up to 4950 min-1. This observation demanded a thorough investigation of the operative mechanism. A series of controlled stoichiometric reactions, detailed kinetic analysis, and relevant intermediate isolation suggest a mechanism that involves oxidative addition, carbonyl insertion, and reductive elimination. Noticing such remarkable efficiency of the (PDI)Mn system, it has been tested for application in renewable fuel generation. A modest efficiency for H2 production at an apparent pH of 8.4 have been achieved using a cationic Mn complex, [(Ph2PPrPDI)Mn(CO)]Br. Although, a detailed mechanistic investigation remained challenging due to complex instability, a set of relevant Mn(-I) intermediates have been isolated and characterized thoroughly.
The dissertation also includes synthesis, characterization, and electronic structure evaluation of a series of Triphos supported iron complexes. Using this pincer chelate and either 2,2’-bipyridine (bpy) or 1,3,5,7-cyclooctatetraene (COT), a set of electronically interesting complexes have been isolated. Detailed electronic structure investigation using spectroscopy, magnetometry, crystallography, and DFT calculations revealed redox non-innocent behavior in the Bpy and COT ligands. Additionally, CO binding to the (Triphos)Fe system followed by reaction with borohydride reagents allowed for the isolation of some catalytically relevant and reactive iron hydride complexes.