Intermolecular hydrophosphination of alkynes and dehydrocoupling studies using iron catalysts

  • Andrew King

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


Iron β-diketiminate complexes have great potential as catalysts. Previous work into the coordination chemistry of complexes bearing the β-diketiminate ancillary ligand (Chapter 1) attest to the useful properties of these complexes in catalysis. A handful of literature reports on catalytic systems hint that this could be further extended. Hydrophosphination is a growing field that continues to generate a lot of interest from industry and academia alike. The aims of this project are to investigate hydrophosphination reactions with iron β-diketiminate complexes, to achieve high degrees of regioselectivity from these sterically encumbered complexes and to investigate iron catalysed dehydrocoupling reactions. A combination of synthetic and mechanistic methodologies will be employed in order to achieve definitive insight via NMR spectroscopic analysis, kinetic studies and solid state crystallography.Initial work presented herein (Chapter 2) will focus on the synthesis of iron(II) β-diketiminate complexes. Previously reported literature methods will be explored in order to determine an optimum procedure to use these precatalyst complexes. Initial investigations into hydrophosphination activity of these iron species will then be explored with alkenes. Results of these studies led to serendipitous findings and unexpected results in phosphine dehydrocoupling. The scope of this reactivity was then probed and mechanistic considerations taken into account with findings detailed herein. Radical catalysed reactivity observed will be further discussed. Solvent selectivity will then be discussed with a simple yet highly effective solvent change yielding a complete shift in catalytic activity. Further studies (Chapter 3) highlight the orthogonal reactivity of iron(II) β-diketiminate complexes in hydrophosphination catalysis. Less electronically activated and more atypical substrates have been investigated to determine their activity in hydrophosphination reactions. The synthesis of phosphinoalkenes and phosphinoalkynes for cyclic intramolecular hydrophosphination reactions are detailed along with their catalytic activity. Preliminary mechanistic studies are discussed with radical species again proving crucial to catalytic activity. Selective intermolecular hydrophosphination reactions have been investigated with alkynes. A solvent based switch can be employed wherein the regioselectivity of the reaction is completely altered. Substrate scope, mechanistic considerations and potential future applications are examined in full detail. Dehydrocoupling catalysis can be extended in scope (Chapter 4) from iron catalysed phosphine homocoupling reactions to heterocoupling reactions. Phosphine-silane dehydrocoupling is found to be highly selective for the formation of silaphosphanes, preliminary mechanistic insight and reaction scope is discussed. Analogous amine-silane dehydrocoupling is explored in full. The substrate scope offers insight into reactivity and potential further applications in sequential and tandem catalysis. In depth mechanistic insight is discussed with kinetic analyses. Iron-amido complexes are observed to react in a metathesis mediated cycle via iron hydride species. Finally catalytic alcohol-silane dehydrocoupling is investigated as a synthetic route to protected natural products in organic synthesis. Unsaturated silazanes are potential targets for further dehydrocoupling reactions. Catalytic reactions with pinacolborane led to highly facile desilylation reactions (Chapter 5). Mechanistic considerations hint that the reactions occur via σ-bond metathesis could through iron hydride species. Desilylation activity is then extended to siloxanes and a model developed with potential applications in the depolymerisation of polysilazanes and polysiloxanes.
Date of Award22 Nov 2018
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SponsorsUniversity of Bath
SupervisorRuth Webster (Supervisor)


  • Iron
  • Catalysis
  • Hydrophosphination
  • Dehydrocoupling

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