Incorporation of various Pd(II) complexes into the framework of MSU-X mesoporous silica has been achieved by co-condensation using a facile solvent-free one-pot synthesis. The use of ligands with triethoxysilyl terminal groups permitted the synthesis of three different metallosilanes precursors (metal complexes with ligands containing trialkoxysilane terminal groups), which allow for the homogeneous in situ incorporation of metal complexes covalently bonded to the porous support. Inorganic precursor tetraethylorthosilicate was used both as silica source and as solvent for the synthesis of the complexes, avoiding the use of other organic co-solvents, making the synthesis environmentally benign. The gentle synthesis conditions used such as neutral pH, room temperature and mild ethanol extraction of the surfactant, allowed a cleaner route for the immobilization of homogeneous Pd(II) catalysts in mesoporous silica, while protecting the structural and chemical integrity of the metal complexes. For comparison purposes, monomer complexes [trans-PdCl2L2] (L = NH2(CH2)3Si(OEt)3, 4-C5H4N–(CH2)2Si(OEt3), PPh2(CH2)2Si(OEt)3) were synthesized using the same aerobic reaction conditions to those use for the co-condensation processes and fully characterized before their incorporation in the mesoporous silica. The catalytic performance of these materials was tested for the Suzuki-Miyaura reaction under solvent-free conditions. Efficient mixing of all the components was accomplished by applying either magnetic stirring or ball milling. The good yields obtained, even at room temperature, confirmed the catalytic activity of the metal complexes once incorporated into the mesoporous silica framework. The possibility to work under solvent-free conditions even with solid starting reactants, is a significant step forward in the Suzuki-Miyaura coupling reaction because its benefits in terms of cost and impact of the environment.
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