Insight into catalyst speciation and hydrogen co-evolution during enantioselective formic acid-driven transfer hydrogenation with bifunctional ruthenium complexes from multi-technique operando reaction monitoring†
Transfer hydrogenation of acetophenone from formic acid/triethylamine mixtures catalysed by the Ikariya–Noyori complex [(mesitylene)RuCl(R,R)-(TsDPEN)] has been investigated using simultaneous high-resolution FlowNMR and FlowUV-Vis spectroscopies coupled with on-line sampling head-space mass spectrometry and chiral high-performance liquid chromatography using an integrated, fully automated recirculating flow setup. In line with previous observations, the combined results show a gradual switch from formic acid dehydrogenation to hydrogen transfer mediated by the same Ru-hydride complex, and point to a Ru-formate species as the major catalyst intermediate. Hydrogen bonding in the formic acid/triethylamine mixture emerges as a sensitive 1H NMR probe for the transfer hydrogenation activity of the system and can be used to locate optimum reaction conditions.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Mechanistic processes in organometallic chemistry