Pt-Catalyzed selective oxidation of alcohols to aldehydes with hydrogen peroxide using continuous flow reactors†
The oxidation of alcohols to aldehydes is a powerful reaction pathway for obtaining valuable fine chemicals used in pharmaceuticals and biologically active compounds. Although many oxidants can oxidize alcohols, only a few hydrogen peroxide oxidations can be employed to continuously synthesize aldehydes in high yields using a liquid–liquid two-phase flow reactor, despite the possibility of the application toward a safe and rapid multi-step synthesis. We herein report the continuous flow synthesis of (E)-cinnamaldehyde from (E)-cinnamyl alcohol in 95%–98% yields with 99% selectivity for over 5 days by the selective oxidation of hydrogen peroxide using a catalyst column in which Pt is dispersed in SiO2. The active species for the developed selective oxidation is found to be zero-valent Pt(0) from the X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy measurements of the Pt surface before and after the oxidation. Using Pt black diluted with SiO2 as a catalyst to retain the Pt(0) species with the optimal substrate and H2O2 introduction rate not only enhances the catalytic activity but also maintains the activity during the flow reaction. Optimizing the contact time of the substrate with Pt and H2O2 using a flow reactor is important to proceed with the selective oxidation to prevent the catalytic H2O2 decomposition.