Ligand topology effects on olefin oxidations by bio-inspired [Fe II(N2Py2)] catalysts

Rubén Mas-Ballesté, Miquel Costas, Tieme Van Den Berg, Lawrence Que

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


Linear tetradentate N2Py2 ligands can coordinate to an octahedral FeII center in three possible topologies (cis-α, cis-β, and trans). While for the N,N'-bis(2-pyridylmethyl)-l,2- diaminoethane (bpmen) complex, only the cis-α topology has been observed, for N,N'-bis(2-pyridylmethyl)-1,2-diamino-cyclohexane (bpmcn) both cis-α and cis-β isomers have been reported. To date, no facile interconversion between cis-α and cis-β topologies has been observed for iron(II) complexes even at high temperatures. However, this work provides evidence for facile interconversion in solution of cis-α, cis-β, and trans topologies for [Fe(bpmpn)X2] (bpmpn = N, N'-bis(2-pyridylmethyl)-1,3- diaminopropane; X = triflate, CH3CN) complexes. As reported previously, the catalytic behavior of cis-α and cis-β isomers of [Fe(bpmcn)(OTf)2] with respect to olefin oxidation depends dramatically on the geometry adopted by the iron complex. To establish a general pattern of the catalysis/ topology dependence, this work presents an extended comparison of the catalytic behavior for oxidation of olefins of a family of [Fe(N2py2)] complexes that present different topologies. 18O labeling experiments provide evidence for a complex mechanistic land-scape in which several pathways should be considered. Complexes with a trans topology catalyze only non-water-assisted epoxidation. In contrast, complexes with a cis-α topology, such as [Fe(bpmen)X2] and [Fe(α-bpmcn)-(OTf)2], can catalyze both epoxidation and cis-dihydroxylation through a water-assisted mechanism. Surprisingly, [Fe(bpmpn)X2] and [Fe(β-bpmcn)-(OTf)2] catalyze epoxidation via a water-assisted pathway and cis-dihydroxylation via a non-water-assisted mechanism, a result that requires two independent and distinct oxidants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7489-7500
Number of pages12
JournalChemistry - A European Journal
Issue number28
StatePublished - Sep 25 2006


  • Bio-inspired catalysis
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Iron
  • N ligands
  • Olefin oxidation


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