Treatment of pyridine dicarbene iron dialkyl complexes with low (≪1 atm) pressures of H2 in a benzene-d6 solution promoted rapid hydrogen isotope exchange (HIE) of the C(sp2)-H bonds in both electron-poor and -rich aromatic and heteroaromatic rings with benzene-d6 as the deuterium source. The iron-catalyzed reaction proceeded with predictable regioselectivity, engaging sterically accessible C-H bonds including ortho-to-fluorine sites. The site selectivity for the catalytic HIE reaction was studied to identify the kinetic preferences for C-H activation. Structure-activity relationship studies with a series of iron precatalysts established that introduction of substituents at the 3- and 5-positions of pyridine of the pincer significantly accelerated HIE. Mechanistic studies identified N2 as an inhibitor of C-H activation, while H2 served to generate the active catalyst.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- C(sp)-H functionalization
- C-H activation
- hydrogen isotope exchange
- iron catalysis