A detailed mechanistic study of the hydroxylation of alkane C-H bonds using H2O2 by a family of mononuclear non heme iron catalysts with the formula [FeII(CF3SO3)2(L)] is described, in which L is a tetradentate ligand containing a triazacyclononane tripod and a pyridine ring bearing different substituents at the α and γ positions, which tune the electronic or steric properties of the corresponding iron complexes. Two inequivalent cis-labile exchangeable sites, occupied by triflate ions, complete the octahedral iron coordination sphere. The C-H hydroxylation mediated by this family of complexes takes place with retention of configuration. Oxygen atoms from water are incorporated into hydroxylated products and the extent of this incorporation depends in a systematic manner on the nature of the catalyst, and the substrate. Mechanistic probes and isotopic analyses, in combination with detailed density functional theory (DFT) calculations, provide strong evidence that C-H hydroxylation is performed by highly electrophilic [FeV(O)(OH)L] species through a concerted asynchronous mechanism, involving homolytic breakage of the C-H bond, followed by rebound of the hydroxyl ligand. The [FeV(O)(OH)L] species can exist in two tautomeric forms, differing in the position of oxo and hydroxide ligands. Isotopic-labeling analysis shows that the relative reactivities of the two tautomeric forms are sensitively affected by the α substituent of the pyridine, and this reactivity behavior is rationalized by computational methods.
- bioinorganic chemistry
- density functional calculations
- non-heme iron
- reaction mechanisms