Acid-Triggered O−O Bond Heterolysis of a Nonheme FeIII(OOH) Species for the Stereospecific Hydroxylation of Strong C−H Bonds

Joan Serrano-Plana, Ferran Acuña-Parés, Valeria Dantignana, Williamson N. Oloo, Esther Castillo, Apparao Draksharapu, Christopher J. Whiteoak, Vlad Martin-Diaconescu, Manuel G. Basallote, Josep M. Luis, Lawrence Que, Miquel Costas, Anna Company

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A novel hydroperoxoiron(III) species [FeIII(OOH)(MeCN)(PyNMe3)]2+ (3) has been generated by reaction of its ferrous precursor [FeII(CF3SO3)2(PyNMe3)] (1) with hydrogen peroxide at low temperatures. This species has been characterized by several spectroscopic techniques and cryospray mass spectrometry. Similar to most of the previously described low-spin hydroperoxoiron(III) compounds, 3 behaves as a sluggish oxidant and it is not kinetically competent for breaking weak C−H bonds. However, triflic acid addition to 3 causes its transformation into a much more reactive compound towards organic substrates that is capable of oxidizing unactivated C−H bonds with high stereospecificity. Stopped-flow kinetic analyses and theoretical studies provide a rationale for the observed chemistry, a triflic-acid-assisted heterolytic cleavage of the O−O bond to form a putative strongly oxidizing oxoiron(V) species. This mechanism is reminiscent to that observed in heme systems, where protonation of the hydroperoxo intermediate leads to the formation of the high-valent [(Porph.)FeIV(O)] (Compound I).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5331-5340
Number of pages10
JournalChemistry - A European Journal
Issue number20
StatePublished - Apr 6 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Financial support for this work was provided by the European Commission (2011-CIG-303522 to A.C., 675020-MSCA-ITN-2015-ETN to M.C.), the Spanish Ministry of Science (CTQ2015-70795-P to M.C., CTQ2016-77989-P to A.C., CTQ2014-52525-P to J.M.L., CTQ2015-65707-C2-2-P to M.G.B., and CSD2010-00065 to M.C and M.G.B.) and Generalitat de Catalunya (ICREA Academia Award to M.C. and 2014 SGR 862). The Spanish Ministry of Science is also acknowledged for a Ramón y Cajal contract to A.C. (RYC-2011–08683). The work conducted at the University of Minnesota has been supported by the US National Science Foundation (grant CHE1665391 to L.Q.). XAS data was collected at the SOLEIL synchrotron SAMBA beamline (proposal 20150413). We would like to thank the beamline staff for their help with experiment preparation in particular Dr. Andrea Zitolo.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim


  • C−H bond activation
  • density functional calculations
  • hydroperoxoiron(III)
  • oxidation
  • stereospecific


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