Novel nickel nanoparticles stabilized by imidazolium-amidinate ligands for selective hydrogenation of alkynes†
The main challenge in the hydrogenation of alkynes into (E)- or (Z)-alkenes is to control the selective formation of the alkene, avoiding the over-reduction to the corresponding alkane. In addition, the preparation of recoverable and reusable catalysts is of high interest. In this work, we report novel nickel nanoparticles (Ni NPs) stabilized by three different imidazolium-amidinate ligands (ICy·(Ar)NCN; L1: Ar = p-tol, L2: Ar = p-anisyl and L3: Ar = p-ClC6H4). The as-prepared Ni NPs were fully characterized by (HR)-TEM, XRD, WASX, XPS and VSM. The nanocatalysts are active in the hydrogenation of various substrates. They present a remarkable selectivity in the hydrogenation of alkynes towards (Z)-alkenes, particularly in the hydrogenation of 3-hexyne into (Z)-3-hexene under mild reaction conditions (room temperature, 3% mol Ni and 1 bar H2). The catalytic behaviour of Ni NPs was influenced by the electron donor/acceptor groups (–Me, –OMe, –Cl) in the N-aryl substituents of the amidinate moiety of the ligands. Due to the magnetic character of the Ni NPs, recycling experiments were successfully performed after decantation in the presence of an external magnet, which allowed us to recover and reuse these catalysts at least 3 times preserving both activity and chemoselectivity.