Determining the Three-Dimensional Structures of Silica-Supported Metal Complexes from the Ground Up

Date
2021-12-21
Authors
Perras, Frédéric A.
Kanbur, Uddhav
Paterson, Alexander L.
Chatterjee, Puranjan
Slowing, Igor
Sadow, Aaron
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American Chemical Society
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Chemistry
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Ames Laboratory
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Abstract
The immobilization of molecularly precise metal complexes to substrates, such as silica, provides an attractive platform for the design of active sites in heterogeneous catalysts. Specific steric and electronic variations of the ligand environment enable the development of structure–activity relationships and the knowledge-driven design of catalysts. At present, however, the three-dimensional environment of the precatalyst, much less the active site, is generally not known for heterogeneous single-site catalysts. We explored the degree to which NMR-based surface-to-complex interatomic distances could be used to solve the three-dimensional structures of three silica-supported metal complexes. The structure solution revealed unexpected features related to the environment around the metal that would be difficult to discern otherwise. This approach appears to be highly robust and, due to its simplicity, is readily applied to most single-site catalysts with little extra effort.
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