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Platinum catalysts are reported for the direct, low-temperature, oxidative conversion of methane to a methanol derivative at greater than 70 percent one-pass yield based on methane. The catalysts are platinum complexes derived from the bidiazine ligand family that are stable, active, and selective for the oxidation of a carbon-hydrogen bond of methane to produce methyl esters. Mechanistic studies show that platinum(II) is the most active oxidation state of platinum for reaction with methane, and are consistent with reaction proceeding through carbon-hydrogen bond activation of methane to generate a platinum-methyl intermediate that is oxidized to generate the methyl ester product.
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