Direct comparison of homogeneous and heterogeneous palladium(II) catalysts for Suzuki-Miyaura cross-coupling reactions



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The syntheses and catalytic properties of four new 1,2-acenaphthenyl N-heterocyclic carbene-supported palladium(II) catalysts are presented. The acenaphthenyl carbene can be prepared using either mesityl or 2,6-diisopropyl N-aryl substituents. In addition, two new heterogeneous analogs were synthesized with 2,6-diisopropyl N-aryl substituents that were anchored through the backbone to an insoluble silica-support. Comprehensive catalytic studies of the Suzuki coupling of aryl halides with aryl boronic acids were carried out. In general, the homogeneous diisopropyl-functionalized catalyst was found to exhibit superior selectivity and reactivity. A comparison of the performances of the aforementioned catalysts in toluene, dichloromethane and aqueous solutions are also presented. In organic solvents, the catalysts were found to be proficient for the homogeneous Suzuki coupling of aryl iodides, bromides and chlorides with boronic acids at low temperatures (35‒40 °C). Similar reactions that were carried out in aqueous media resulted in the formation of insoluble colloidal catalytic species. Nevertheless, these species still retained high activities in terms of in the Suzuki reaction with aryl chlorides. Moreover, the heterogeneous Pd precipitates can be easily recovered for subsequent use by means of filtration. The activation energies that were determined for the aryl bromide-based Suzuki reactions were found to fall in the range, 159.2‒171.2 kJ mol⁻¹ in organic solvents and 111.3‒115.9 kJ mol⁻¹ in water. The corresponding activation energy for the aryl chloride was found to be 321.8 kJ mol⁻¹ in aqueous media using the homogeneous diisopropyl-functionalized carbene catalyst. Conversely, the heterogeneous catalyst exhibited reactivity toward aryl iodides and bromides exclusively, and required significantly higher temperatures and catalyst loadings in both toluene and water. Additional experimental trials that were performed in tetrahydrofuran solution at lower temperatures resulted in substantially larger catalytic conversions. The heterogeneous catalyst allowed for easy separation and recovery. However, the catalyst exhibited a significant decrease in reactivity toward the aryl halides after two consecutive trials.