Hybrid Organic-Inorganic Catalyst Synthesized

The Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia, also known as RUDN chemists have developed synthesis of metal complexes on the basis of the organo-elemental substance silsesquioxane that consists of an organic and an inorganic part. As reported in the Inorganic Chemistry Journal, such hybrid systems may be used as efficient catalysts, for example, to obtain alcohols from alkanes.

Scientists worked on hybrid materials to combine different components and therefore demonstrate new properties.

In modern chemistry, special attention is paid to compounds that consist of metal centers and organic “bridges” that keep them together. Such objects have a number of valuable properties and may be used for industrial purposes: catalysis, storage of gases, accurate separation of mixed substances. They can also be used to create chemical sensors and agents to deliver drugs to their targets in the body.

Hybrid organo-elemental substances such as silsesquioxanes consist of an inorganic main chain Si-O-Si and an organic framework of Si atoms. RUDN chemists suggested a new approach to such compounds based on the use of additional complex-forming substances (ligands).

The new products were obtained in the course of a silsesquioxane and copper dichloride self-assembly reaction in the presence of organic ligands—phenanthroline and neocuproine. In the first case the scientists observed the case of “hidden control” as phenanthroline facilitated the formation of a previously unknown carcass compound but was not included into the product. The use of the second ligand led to an unusual result: the product consisted of several components with copper atoms distributed among ligands of different nature—an oxygen-consisting one (silsesquioxane) and a nitrogen-consisting one (neocuproine). The first obtained substance was used in oxidizing reactions of organic synthesis—amidation and functionalization of alkanes and alcohols.