Identification of a low-spin acylperoxoiron(III) intermediate in bio-inspired non-heme iron-catalysed oxidations

Williamson N. Oloo, Katlyn K. Meier, Yong Wang, Sason Shaik, Eckard Münck, Lawrence Que

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Synthetically useful hydrocarbon oxidations are catalysed by bio-inspired non-heme iron complexes using hydrogen peroxide as oxidant, and carboxylic acid addition enhances their selectivity and catalytic efficiency. Talsi has identified a low-intensity g=2.7 electron paramagnetic resonance signal in such catalytic systems and attributed it to an oxoiron(V)-carboxylate oxidant. Herein we report the use of FeII (TPA*) (TPA*=tris(3,5- dimethyl-4-methoxypyridyl-2-methyl)amine) to generate this intermediate in 50% yield, and have characterized it by ultraviolet-visible, resonance Raman, Mössbauer and electrospray ionization mass spectrometric methods as a low-spin acylperoxoiron(III) species. Kinetic studies show that this intermediate is not itself the oxidant but decays via a unimolecular rate-determining step to unmask a powerful oxidant. The latter is shown by density functional theory calculations to be an oxoiron(V) species that oxidises substrate without a barrier. This study provides a mechanistic scenario for understanding catalyst reactivity and selectivity as well as a basis for improving catalyst design.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3046
JournalNature communications
StatePublished - Jan 16 2014

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