The elusive active species in nickel(ii)-mediated oxidations of hydrocarbons by peracids: a NiII-oxyl species, an aroyloxy radical, or a NiII-peracid complex?

Zhimin Wu, Dongru Sun, Yong Min Lee, Yufen Zhao, Wonwoo Nam, Yong Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Nonheme nickel(ii)-mediated oxidations of hydrocarbons by meta-chloroperbenzoic acid (mCPBA) show promising activity and selectivity; however, the active species and the reaction mechanism of these reactions are still elusive after decades of efforts. Herein, a novel free radical chain mechanism of the Ni(ii)-mediated oxidation of cyclohexane by mCPBA is investigated using density functional theory calculations. In this study, we rule out the involvement of a long speculated NiII-oxyl species. Instead, an aroyloxy radical (mCBA˙) and a NiIII-hydroxyl species formed by a rate-limiting O-O homolysis of a NiII-mCPBA complex are active species in the C-H bond activation to form a carbon-centered radical R˙, where mCBA˙ is more robust than the NiIII-hydroxyl species. The nascent R˙ radical either reacts with mCPBA to form a hydroxylated product and a mCBA˙ radical to propagate the radical chain or reacts with the solvent dichloromethane to form a chlorinated product. In addition, the NiII-mCPBA complex is found for the first time to be a robust oxidant in hydroxylation of cyclohexane, with an activation energy of 13.4 kcal mol−1. These mechanistic findings support the free radical chain mechanism and enrich the mechanistic knowledge of metal-peracid oxidation systems containing transition metals after group 8 in periodic table of elements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8676-8684
Number of pages9
JournalDalton Transactions
Volume52
Issue number25
DOIs
StatePublished - 8 Jun 2023

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© 2023 The Royal Society of Chemistry.

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