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Linear Alkane Polymerization on a Gold Surface

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Science  14 Oct 2011:
Vol. 334, Issue 6053, pp. 213-216
DOI: 10.1126/science.1211836

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Abstract

In contrast to the many methods of selectively coupling olefins, few protocols catenate saturated hydrocarbons in a predictable manner. We report here the highly selective carbon-hydrogen (C–H) activation and subsequent dehydrogenative C–C coupling reaction of long-chain (>C20) linear alkanes on an anisotropic gold(110) surface, which undergoes an appropriate reconstruction by adsorption of the molecules and subsequent mild annealing, resulting in nanometer-sized channels (1.22 nanometers in width). Owing to the orientational constraint of the reactant molecules in these one-dimensional channels, the reaction takes place exclusively at specific sites (terminal CH3 or penultimate CH2 groups) in the chains at intermediate temperatures (420 to 470 kelvin) and selects for aliphatic over aromatic C–H activation.

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