Journal of the American Chemical Society, Vol.142, No.32, 13823-13832, 2020
Confirmation of Suzuki-Miyaura Cross-Coupling Reaction Mechanism through Synthetic Architecture of Nanocatalysts
Despite widespread use of heterogeneous Pd catalysts in Suzuki-Miyaura coupling reactions, detailed roles of Pd, especially the nature of its active species, are still a topic of controversial debate. While some studies showed an active surface of Pd nanoparticles or nanoclusters acting heterogeneously, others claimed soluble Pd species leached from the metallic Pd to be active species which are homogeneous in nature. Besides, within the homogeneous mechanism, how the Pd leaches and promotes the cross-coupling reaction is then another question that needs to be addressed. It could be envisioned that if the soluble Pd species and solid-phase Pd are physically separated, the mechanism of Suzuki-Miyaura coupling could then be confirmed through examining the catalytic activity in different reaction regions. Herein we use microporous Stober silica as a membrane to separate the soluble Pd species from solid Pd and conduct size-selective reactions which allow the passage of leaching Pd species, but not of reactants or products larger than the membrane aperture. With this strategy, we have been able to differentiate the surface reaction from the solution cross-coupling. We find that the leached Pd species are the only genuine catalytic intermediate in the cross-coupling reactions. We also confirm that oxidative addition of aryl halides to the solid Pd leads to leaching of the soluble Pd species which is necessary to promote Suzuki-Miyaura reactions.