The catalytic hydrogenation activity of the readily prepared, coordinatively saturated cobalt(I) precatalyst, (R,R)-(iPrDuPhos)Co(CO)2H ((R,R)-iPrDuPhos = (+)-1,2-bis[(2R,5R)-2,5-diisopropylphospholano]benzene), is described. While efficient turnover was observed with a range of alkenes upon heating to 100 °C, the catalytic performance of the cobalt catalyst was markedly enhanced upon irradiation with blue light at 35 °C. This improved reactivity enabled hydrogenation of terminal, di-, and trisubstituted alkenes, alkynes, and carbonyl compounds. A combination of deuterium labeling studies, hydrogenation of alkenes containing radical clocks, and experiments probing relative rates supports a hydrogen atom transfer pathway under thermal conditions that is enabled by a relatively weak cobalt-hydrogen bond of 54 kcal/mol. In contrast, data for the photocatalytic reactions support light-induced dissociation of a carbonyl ligand followed by a coordination-insertion sequence where the product is released by combination of a cobalt alkyl intermediate with the starting hydride, (R,R)-(iPrDuPhos)Co(CO)2H. These results demonstrate the versatility of catalysis with Earth-abundant metals as pathways involving open-versus closed-shell intermediates can be switched by the energy source.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- switchable mechanism
- visible light