Metal-free nitrogen -doped carbon nanosheets: a catalyst for the direct synthesis of imines under mild conditions†
Herein, a highly stable, porous, multifunctional and metal-free catalyst was developed, which exhibited significant catalytic performance in the oxidation of amines and transfer hydrogenation of nitriles under mild conditions; this could be attributed to the presence of numerous active sites and their outstanding BET surface area. The obtained results showed that most of the yields of imines exceeded 90%, and the cycling performance of the catalyst could be at least seven runs without any decay in the reaction activity, which could be comparable to those of metal catalysts. Subsequently, a kinetic study has demonstrated that the apparent activation energy for the direct synthesis of imines from amines is 67.39 kJ mol−1, which has been performed to testify that the catalytic performances are rational. Via catalyst characterizations and experimental data, graphitic-N has been proven to be the active site of the catalyst. Hence, this study is beneficial to comprehend the mechanism of action of a metal-free N-doped carbon catalyst in the formation of imines.