Report

Selective functionalization of methane, ethane, and higher alkanes by cerium photocatalysis

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  26 Jul 2018:
eaat9750
DOI: 10.1126/science.aat9750

You are currently viewing the abstract.

View Full Text

Log in to view the full text

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution

Abstract

With the recent soaring production of natural gas, the use of methane and other light hydrocarbon feedstocks as starting materials in synthetic transformations is becoming increasingly economically attractive, though it remains chemically challenging. Here, we report the development of photocatalytic C–H amination, alkylation and arylation of methane, ethane, and higher alkanes under visible light irradiation at ambient temperature. High catalytic efficiency (turnover numbers up to 2900 for methane and 9700 for ethane) and selectivity were achieved using abundant, inexpensive cerium salts as photocatalysts. Ligand-to-metal charge transfer excitation generates alkoxy radicals from simple alcohols that in turn act as hydrogen atom transfer catalysts. The mixed phase gas/liquid reaction was adapted to continuous-flow, enabling the efficient use of gaseous feedstocks in scalable photocatalytic transformations.

View Full Text