Report

Silver-Catalyzed C-C Bond Formation Between Methane and Ethyl Diazoacetate in Supercritical CO2

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Science  13 May 2011:
Vol. 332, Issue 6031, pp. 835-838
DOI: 10.1126/science.1204131

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Abstract

Even in the context of hydrocarbons’ general resistance to selective functionalization, methane’s volatility and strong bonds pose a particular challenge. We report here that silver complexes bearing perfluorinated indazolylborate ligands catalyze the reaction of methane (CH4) with ethyl diazoacetate (N2CHCO2Et) to yield ethyl propionate (CH3CH2CO2Et). The use of supercritical carbon dioxide (scCO2) as the solvent is key to the reaction’s success. Although the catalyst is only sparingly soluble in CH4/CO2 mixtures, optimized conditions presently result in a 19% yield of ethyl propionate (based on starting quantity of the diazoester) at 40°C over 14 hours.

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