On the design and further applications of iridium (I) complexes in hydrogen isotope exchange processes

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


A new synthetic procedure for isolation of three established Kerr group catalysts has been successfully developed. The final yield of these catalysts has now been improved beyond those published in the literature, and has allowed for the commercialisation of such catalysts for the first time. The synthesis of a series of iridium(I) complexes of the type [(COD)Ir(IMes)(PPh₃)]X (X = BF₄, OTf, and BArF) has been established. Application of these species in hydrogen isotope exchange (HIE) processes revealed more efficient catalysis and a wider solvent scope when X = BArF. Additionally, these findings have allowed for the development of a novel method for ortho-HIE in unprotected tetrazoles under basic conditions, revealing a rare account of N-H tetrazole C-H activation and a new mode of reactivity for Kerr group HIE catalysts. Towards predictive catalyst design, a combined experimental and theoretical model has been developed to describe the impact of ligand combinations on catalyst performance. Experimentally, this has resulted in a further broad range of novel NHC/phosphine iridium carbonyl complexes, as well as a catalyst 'quick screen' method based on in-situ formation of Ir dihydride complexes. Computationally, novel parameters have been assessed, culminating in a combined ligand map derived from Principal Component Analysis (PCA) of 140 DFT-optimised iridium complexes. Ligand mapping methods have been employed to assess the use of natural product Lepidiline A as a NHC ligand precursor in novel HIE catalysts, revealing the almost purely electronic influence of 4,5-dimethyl substitution on the imidaz-2-ylidene ring. The PCA model has also highlighted complexes of the type [(COD)Ir(NHC)Cl] to be promising in delivering orthogonal reactivity to the now traditional NHC/phosphine pairing. This analysis has led to the realisation of the first regio- and chemoselective catalytic labelling methods for primary sulfonamides and aldehydes. Finally, a novel, one-parameter approach has been developed to describe chelating and monodentate ligand spheres on the same comparable and quantifiable footing. Chelating NHC/phosphine-ligated iridium catalysts have been designed, synthesised, and successfully applied to ortho-labelling of previously inaccessible sulfones, secondary sulfonamides, and bulky tertiary amides.
Date of Award24 Aug 2015
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University Of Strathclyde

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