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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 18, 2024
  2. A photochemical C(sp 3 )–H oxygenation of alkane and arene substrates catalyzed by [NEt 4 ] 2 [Ce IV Cl 6 ] under mild conditions (1 atm, 25 °C) is described. Time-course studies reveal that the hydrocarbons are oxidized in a stepwise fashion to afford alcohols, aldehydes, ketones, and carboxylic acids. The catalyst resting state, [Ce IV Cl 6 ] 2− , is observed by UV-visible spectroscopy. On/off light-switching experiments, quantum yield measurements, and the absence of a kinetic isotope effect on parallel C–H/C–D functionalization suggest that ligand-to-metal charge transfer of [NEt 4 ] 2 [Ce IV Cl 6 ] to generate Cl˙ is the turnover-limiting step. The involvement of a highly reducing excited-state [NEt 4 ] 3 [Ce III Cl 6 ]* species as well as photo-excited aldehyde, under black light irradiation appears to facilitate the conversion of primary alcohols and aldehydes to carboxylic acids. Remarkably, this approach is found to be capable of direct activation of light alkanes, including methane and ethane.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 17, 2023
  3. The separation and purification of niobium and tantalum, which co-occur in natural sources, is difficult due to their similar physical and chemical properties. The current industrial method for separating Ta/Nb mixtures uses an energy-intensive process with caustic and toxic conditions. It is of interest to develop alternative, fundamental methodologies for the purification of these technologically important metals that improve upon their environmental impact. Herein, we introduce new Ta/Nb imido compounds: M( t BuN)(TriNOx) (1-M) bound by the TriNOx 3− ligand and demonstrate a fundamental, proof-of-concept Ta/Nb separation based on differences in the imido reactivities. Despite the nearly identical structures of 1-M, density functional theory (DFT)-computed electronic structures of 1-M indicate enhanced basic character of the imido group in 1-Ta as compared to 1-Nb. Accordingly, the rate of CO 2 insertion into the MN imido bond of 1-Ta to form a carbamate complex (2-Ta) was selective compared to the analogous, unobserved reaction with 1-Nb. Differences in solubility between the imido and carbamate complexes allowed for separation of the carbamate complex, and led to an efficient Ta/Nb separation ( S Ta/Nb = 404 ± 150) dependent on the kinetic differences in nucleophilicities between the imido moieties in 1-Ta and 1-Nb.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 15, 2023
  4. Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2023
  5. Abstract The synthesis of bona fide organometallic Ce IV complexes is a formidable challenge given the typically oxidizing properties of the Ce IV cation and reducing tendencies of carbanions. Herein, we report a pair of compounds comprising a Ce IV  − C aryl bond [Li(THF) 4 ][Ce IV (κ 2 - ortho -oxa)(MBP) 2 ] ( 3-THF ) and [Li(DME) 3 ][Ce IV (κ 2 - ortho -oxa)(MBP) 2 ] ( 3-DME ), ortho -oxa = dihydro-dimethyl-2-[4-(trifluoromethyl)phenyl]-oxazolide, MBP 2–  = 2,2′-methylenebis(6- tert -butyl-4-methylphenolate), which exhibit Ce IV  − C aryl bond lengths of 2.571(7) – 2.5806(19) Å and strongly-deshielded, Ce IV  − C ipso 13 C{ 1 H} NMR resonances at 255.6 ppm. Computational analyses reveal the Ce contribution to the Ce IV  − C aryl bond of 3-THF is ~12%, indicating appreciable metal-ligand covalency. Computations also reproduce the characteristic 13 C{ 1 H} resonance, and show a strong influence from spin-orbit coupling (SOC) effects on the chemical shift. The results demonstrate that SOC-driven deshielding is present for Ce IV  − C ipso 13 C{ 1 H} resonances and not just for diamagnetic actinide compounds.
  6. This study presents the role of 5d orbitals in the bonding, and electronic and magnetic structure of Ce imido and oxo complexes synthesized with a tris(hydroxylaminato) [((2- t BuNO)C 6 H 4 CH 2 ) 3 N] 3− (TriNO x 3− ) ligand framework, including the reported synthesis and characterization of two new alkali metal-capped Ce oxo species. X-ray spectroscopy measurements reveal that the imido and oxo materials exhibit an intermediate valent ground state of the Ce, displaying hallmark features in the Ce L III absorption of partial f-orbital occupancy that are relatively constant for all measured compounds. These spectra feature a double peak consistent with other formal Ce( iv ) compounds. Magnetic susceptibility measurements reveal enhanced levels of temperature-independent paramagnetism (TIP). In contrast to systems with direct bonding to an aromatic ligand, no clear correlation between the level of TIP and f-orbital occupancy is observed. CASSCF calculations defy a conventional van Vleck explanation of the TIP, indicating a single-reference ground state with no low-lying triplet excited state, despite accurately predicting the measured values of f-orbital occupancy. The calculations do, however, predict strong 4f/5d hybridization. In fact, within these complexes, despite having similar f-orbital occupancies and therefore levels of 4f/5dmore »hybridization, the d-state distributions vary depending on the bonding motif (CeO vs. CeN) of the complex, and can also be fine-tuned based on varying alkali metal cation capping species. This system therefore provides a platform for understanding the characteristic nature of Ce multiple bonds and potential impact that the associated d-state distribution may have on resulting reactivity.« less
  7. The super electron donor (SED) ability of 2-azaallyl anions has recently been discovered and applied to diverse reactivity, including transition metal-free cross-coupling and dehydrogenative cross-coupling processes. Surprisingly, the redox properties of 2-azaallyl anions and radicals have been rarely studied. Understanding the chemistry of elusive species is the key to further development. Electrochemical analysis of phenyl substituted 2-azaallyl anions revealed an oxidation wave at E 1/2 or E pa = −1.6 V versus Fc/Fc + , which is ∼800 mV less than the reduction potential predicted ( E pa = −2.4 V vs. Fc/Fc + ) based on reactivity studies. Investigation of the kinetics of electron transfer revealed reorganization energies an order of magnitude lower than commonly employed SEDs. The electrochemical study enabled the synthetic design of the first stable, acyclic 2-azaallyl radical. These results indicate that the reorganization energy should be an important design consideration for the development of more potent organic reductants.
  8. A series of cerium( iv ) mixed-ligand guanidinate–amide complexes, {[(Me 3 Si) 2 NC(N i Pr) 2 ] x Ce IV [N(SiMe 3 ) 2 ] 3−x } + ( x = 0–3), was prepared by chemical oxidation of the corresponding cerium( iii ) complexes, where x = 1 and 2 represent novel complexes. The Ce( iv ) complexes exhibited a range of intense colors, including red, black, cyan, and green. Notably, increasing the number of the guanidinate ligands from zero to three resulted in significant redshift of the absorption bands from 503 nm (2.48 eV) to 785 nm (1.58 eV) in THF. X-ray absorption near edge structure (XANES) spectra indicated increasing f occupancy ( n f ) with more guanidinate ligands, and revealed the multiconfigurational ground states for all Ce( iv ) complexes. Cyclic voltammetry experiments demonstrated less stabilization of the Ce( iv ) oxidation state with more guanidinate ligands. Moreover, the Ce( iv ) tris(guanidinate) complex exhibited temperature independent paramagnetism (TIP) arising from the small energy gap between the ground- and excited states with considerable magnetic moments. Computational analysis suggested that the origin of the low energy absorption bands was a charge transfer between guanidinate π orbitals thatmore »were close in energy to the unoccupied Ce 4f orbitals. However, the incorporation of sterically hindered guanidinate ligands inhibited optimal overlaps between Ce 5d and ligand N 2p orbitals. As a result, there was an overall decrease of ligand-to-metal donation and a less stabilized Ce( iv ) oxidation state, while at the same time, more of the donated electron density ended up in the 4f shell. The results indicate that incorporating guanidinate ligands into Ce( iv ) complexes gives rise to intense charge transfer bands and noteworthy electronic structures, providing insights into the stabilization of tetravalent lanthanide oxidation states.« less