Metal Nitride Complexes as Potential Catalysts for C-H and N-H Bonds Activation

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Saudi Digital Library
Transition metal nitride complexes (TMNs) have shown excellent results in C-H activation applications in the last few decades. However, determining factors controlling the unique reactivity of the nitride ligand in TMNs is still poorly defined. Recognizing the dual ability of the nitride ligand to react as a nucleophile or an electrophile – depending on the metal and other supporting ligands – is a key to their broad-range reactivity; thus, three DFT studies were initiated to investigate these two factors effects (the metal and supporting ligands) for tuning nitride ligand reactivity for C-H and N-H bond activation/functionalization. We focused on studying these factors effects from both a kinetic and thermodynamic perspective in order to delineate new principles that explain the outcomes of TMN reactions. Chapter 2 reports a kinetic study of C–H amination of toluene to produce a new Csp3–N (benzylamine) or Csp2–N (para-toluidine) bond activated by diruthenium nitride intermediate. Studying three different mechanisms highlighted the excellent ability of diruthenium nitride to transform a C-H bond to a new C-N bond. These results also revealed that nitride basicity played an important role in determining C–H bond activating ability. Chapter 3 thus reports a thermodynamic study to map basicity trends of more than a one hundred TMN complexes of the 3d and 4d metals. TMN pKb(N) values were calculated in acetonitrile. Basicity trends decreased from left to right across the 3d and 4d rows and increases from 3d metals to their 4d congeners. Metal and supporting ligands effects were evaluated to determine their impacts on TMNs basicity. In Chapter 4 we sought correlations among basicity, nucleophilicity and enhanced reactivity for N–H bond activation. Three different mechanisms for ammonia decomposition reaction (ADR) were tested: 1,2-addition, nitridyl insertion and hydrogen atom transfer (HAT). Evaluating nitride reactivity for the aforementioned mechanisms revealed factors related to the metal and its attached ligands on TMNs for tuning nitride basicity and ammonia N–H activation barriers.
Transition Metal Nitride, C-H activation, N-H activation, DFT