Sustainable Fe–ppm Pd nanoparticle catalysis of Suzuki-Miyaura cross-couplings in water

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Science  04 Sep 2015:
Vol. 349, Issue 6252, pp. 1087-1091
DOI: 10.1126/science.aac6936

Iron lends power to traces of palladium

Palladium (Pd) is a mainstay of chemical catalysis. The precious metal has a knack for forging carbon-carbon (C-C) bonds. Handa et al. now report that when mixed in a specific preparation with iron, just parts per million of Pd suffice to catalyze the C-C bond–forming Suzuki coupling reaction. The addition of surfactants allowed the reaction to proceed in water. The protocol bodes well for conserving Pd in pharmaceutical and agrochemical synthesis.

Science, this issue p. 1087


Most of today’s use of transition metal–catalyzed cross-coupling chemistry relies on expensive quantities of palladium (Pd). Here we report that nanoparticles formed from inexpensive FeCl3 that naturally contains parts-per-million (ppm) levels of Pd can catalyze Suzuki-Miyaura reactions, including cases that involve highly challenging reaction partners. Nanomicelles are employed to both solubilize and deliver the reaction partners to the Fe–ppm Pd catalyst, resulting in carbon-carbon bond formation. The newly formed catalyst can be isolated and stored at ambient temperatures. Aqueous reaction mixtures containing both the surfactant and the catalyst can be recycled.

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