skip to main content


The NSF Public Access Repository (NSF-PAR) system and access will be unavailable from 11:00 PM ET on Thursday, June 13 until 2:00 AM ET on Friday, June 14 due to maintenance. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Title: Group 13 Lewis acid catalyzed synthesis of metal oxide nanocrystals via hydroxide transmetallation
A new transmetallation approach is described for the synthesis of metal oxide nanocrystals (NCs). Typically, the synthesis of metal oxide NCs in oleyl alcohol is driven by metal-based esterification catalysis with oleic acid to produce oleyl oleate ester and M-OH monomers, which then condense to form M x O y solids. Here we show that the synthesis of Cu 2 O NCs by this method is limited by the catalytic ability of copper to drive esterification and thus produce Cu + -OH monomers. However, inclusion of 1–15 mol% of a group 13 cation (Al 3+ , Ga 3+ , or In 3+ ) results in efficient synthesis of Cu 2 O NCs and exhibits size/morphology control based on the nature of M 3+ . Using a continuous-injection procedure where the copper precursor (Cu 2+ -oleate) and catalyst (M 3+ -oleate) are injected into oleyl alcohol at a controlled rate, we are able to monitor the reactivity of the precursor and M 3+ catalyst using UV-visible and FTIR absorbance spectroscopies. These time-dependent measurements clearly show that M 3+ catalysts drive esterification to produce M 3+ -OH species, which then undergo transmetallation of hydroxide ligands to generate Cu + -OH monomers required for Cu 2 O condensation. Ga 3+ is found to be the “goldilocks” catalyst, producing NCs with the smallest size and a distinct cubic morphology not observed for any other group 13 metal. This is believed to be due to rapid transmetallation kinetics between Ga 3+ -OH and Cu + -oleate. These studies introduce a new mechanism for the synthesis of metal oxides where inherent catalysis by the parent metal ( i.e. copper) can be circumvented with the use of a secondary catalyst to generate hydroxide ligands.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
1809847 2018794
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    Converting CO2to value‐added chemicals,e. g., CH3OH, is highly desirable in terms of the carbon cycling while reducing CO2emission from fossil fuel combustion. Cu‐based nanocatalysts are among the most efficient for selective CO2‐to‐CH3OH transformation; this conversion, however, suffers from low reactivity especially in the thermodynamically favored low temperature range. We herein report ultrasmall copper (Cu) nanocatalysts supported on crystalline, mesoporous zinc oxide nanoplate (Cu@mZnO) with notable activity and selectivity of CO2‐to‐CH3OH in the low temperature range of 200–250 °C. Cu@mZnO nanoplates are prepared based on the crystal‐crystal transition of mixed Cu and Zn basic carbonates to mesoporous metal oxides and subsequent hydrogen reduction. Under the nanoconfinement of mesopores in crystalline ZnO frameworks, ultrasmall Cu nanoparticles with an average diameter of 2.5 nm are produced. Cu@mZnO catalysts have a peak CH3OH formation rate of 1.13 mol h−1per 1 kg under ambient pressure at 246 °C, about 25 °C lower as compared to that of the benchmark catalyst of Cu−Zn−Al oxides. Our new synthetic strategy sheds some valuable insights into the design of porous catalysts for the important conversion of CO2‐to‐CH3OH.

    more » « less
  2. Reactions of the bicompartmental bis(phenolato) compound 6,6′-methylenebis(2-((bis(pyridin-2-ylmethyl)amino)methyl)-4-chlorophenol)hemihydrate (H 2 L ½H 2 O) with 3d metal( ii ) ions afforded novel fully structurally characterized bridged acetato dinuclear complexes [Mn 2 (HL)(μ 1,2 -OAc) 2 ]PF 6 (1) [Zn 2 (HL)(μ 1,2 -OAc)(H 2 O) 0.75 (MeOH) 0.25 ](PF 6 ) 2 ·0.45(H 2 O) (5) and [Cd 2 (HL)(μ 1,1,2 -OAc)(OAc)(H 2 O)]PF 6 ·H 2 O (6) as well as the polymeric bridged-azido tetranuclear catena -[Cu 4 (HL) 2 (μ 1,1 -N 3 ) 2 (μ 1,3 -N 3 ) 2 ](NO 3 ) 2 ·5H 2 O (4). The complex [Cu 4 (HL) 2 (ClO 4 ) 3 (H 2 O) 5 ](ClO 4 ) 3 ·5H 2 O (2) was partially characterized. In addition, three more dinuclear complexes [Cu 2 (H 2 L)(NO 3 ) 2 (H 2 O) 2 ](NO 3 ) 2 (3), [Cu 2 (HL)(OAc)(CH 3 OH)](PF 6 ) 2 (7) and [Cu 2 (HL)(NCS) 2 ]NO 3 ·2H 2 O (8) were also isolated. All complexes were characterized by CHN elemental analysis, IR and UV-Vis spectroscopy, ESI-MS, conductivity measurements and X-ray single crystal crystallography for compounds 1, 4, 5 and 6, where the bis(phenolato) ligand displayed different deprotonation (H 2 L, HL − and L 2− ). The magnetic susceptibility measurements over the temperature range 2–300 K revealed very weak antiferromagnetic coupling in dimanganese( ii ) 1 ( J = −1.64(1) cm −1 ) and almost negligible magnetic interaction in dicopper( ii ) 2 ( J = 0(3) cm −1 ). In the azido catena -[Cu 4 (HL) 2 (μ 1,1 -N 3 ) 2 (μ 1,3 -N 3 ) 2 ](NO 3 ) 2 ·5H 2 O (4) complex, the J value of −133(3) cm −1 was obtained upon moderate-to-strong antiferromagnetic coupling through the di-μ 1,3 -N 3 -bridged dicopper( ii ) unit with no magnetic interaction between the two copper( ii ) ions in the di-μ 1,1 -N 3 -bridged unit. 
    more » « less
  3. Abstract The valorization of carbon oxides on metal/metal oxide catalysts has been extensively investigated because of its ecological and economical relevance. However, the ambiguity surrounding the active sites in such catalysts hampers their rational development. Here, in situ infrared spectroscopy in combination with isotope labeling revealed that CO molecules adsorbed on Ti 3+ and Cu + interfacial sites in Cu/TiO 2 gave two disparate carbonyl peaks. Monitoring each of these peaks under various conditions enabled tracking the adsorption of CO, CO 2 , H 2, and H 2 O molecules on the surface. At room temperature, CO was initially adsorbed on the oxygen vacancies to produce a high frequency CO peak, Ti 3+ −CO. Competitive adsorption of water molecules on the oxygen vacancies eventually promoted CO migration to copper sites to produce a low-frequency CO peak. In comparison, the presence of gaseous CO 2 inhibits such migration by competitive adsorption on the copper sites. At temperatures necessary to drive CO 2 and CO hydrogenation reactions, oxygen vacancies can still bind CO molecules, and H 2 spilled-over from copper also competed for adsorption on such sites. Our spectroscopic observations demonstrate the existence of bifunctional active sites in which the metal sites catalyze CO 2 dissociation whereas oxygen vacancies bind and activate CO molecules. 
    more » « less
  4. A recent advance in the synthesis of alkenylated arenes was the demonstration that the Pd(OAc)2 catalyst precursor gives >95% selectivity toward styrene from ethylene and benzene under optimized conditions using excess Cu(II) carboxylate as the in situ oxidant [ Organometallics 2019, 38(19), 3532−3541]. To understand the mechanism underlying this catalysis, we applied density functional theory (DFT) calculations in combination with experimental studies. From DFT calculations, we determined the lowest-energy multimetallic Pd and Pd–Cu mixed metal species as possible catalyst precursors. From the various structures, we determined the cyclic heterotrinuclear complex PdCu2(μ-OAc)6 to be the global minimum in Gibbs free energy under conditions of excess Cu(II). For cyclic PdCu2(μ-OAc)6 and the parent [Pd(μ-OAc)2]3, we evaluated the barriers for benzene C–H activation through concerted metalation deprotonation (CMD). The PdCu2(μ-OAc)6 cyclic trimer leads to a CMD barrier of 33.5 kcal/mol, while the [Pd(μ-OAc)2]3 species leads to a larger CMD barrier at >35 kcal/mol. This decrease in the CMD barrier arises from the insertion of Cu(II) into the trimetallic species. Because cyclic PdCu2(μ-OAc)6 is likely the predominant species under experimental conditions (the Cu to Pd ratio is 480:1 at the start of catalysis) with a predicted CMD barrier within the range of the experimentally determined activation barrier, we propose that cyclic PdCu2(μ-OAc)6 is the Pd species responsible for catalysis and report a full reaction mechanism based on DFT calculations. For catalytic conversion of benzene and ethylene to styrene at 120 °C using Pd(OAc)2 as the catalyst precursor and Cu(OPiv)2 (OPiv = pivalate) as the oxidant, an induction period of ∼1 h was observed, followed by catalysis with a turnover frequency of ∼2.3 × 10–3 s–1. In situ1H NMR spectroscopy experiments indicate that during the induction period, Pd(OAc)2 is likely converted to cyclic PdCu2(η2-C2H4)3(μ-OPiv)6, which is consistent with the calculations and consistent with the proposal that the active catalyst is the ethylene-coordinated heterotrinuclear complex cyclic PdCu2(η2-C2H4)3(μ-OPiv)6. 
    more » « less
  5. Investigation of Cu–O 2 oxidation reactivity is important in biological and anthropogenic chemistry. Zeolites are one of the most promising Cu/O based oxidation catalysts for development of industrial-scale CH 4 to CH 3 OH conversion. Their oxidation mechanisms are not well understood, however, highlighting the importance of the investigation of molecular Cu( i )–O 2 reactivity with O-donor complexes. Herein, we give an overview of the synthesis, structural properties, and O 2 reactivity of three different series of O-donor fluorinated Cu( i ) alkoxides: K[Cu(OR) 2 ], [(Ph 3 P)Cu(μ-OR) 2 Cu(PPh 3 )], and K[(R 3 P)Cu(pin F )], in which OR = fluorinated monodentate alkoxide ligands and pin F = perfluoropinacolate. This breadth allowed for the exploration of the influence of the denticity of the ligand, coordination number, the presence of phosphine, and K⋯F/O interactions on their O 2 reactivity. K⋯F/O interactions were required to activate O 2 in the monodentate-ligand-only family, whereas these connections did not affect O 2 activation in the bidentate complexes, potentially due to the presence of phosphine. Both families formed trisanionic, trinuclear cores of the form {Cu 3 (μ 3 -O) 2 } 3− . Intramolecular and intermolecular substrate oxidation were also explored and found to be influenced by the fluorinated ligand. Namely, {Cu 3 (μ 3 -O) 2 } 3− from K[Cu(OR) 2 ] could perform both monooxygenase reactivity and oxidase catalysis, whereas those from K[(R 3 P)Cu(pin F )] could only perform oxidase catalysis. 
    more » « less