Sofia Kiriakidi, Carlos Silva, Roberto Sanz Díez, Olalla Nieto Faza

Deciphering Nitroaromatics Reduction:Theoretical Insights into DioxomolybdenumCatalysis with Biomass‐Derived Pinacol

  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Catalysis

Density Functional Theory is used to unravel the mechanism of the nitrobenzene to aniline reduction, catalyzed by dioxomolybdenum (VI) dichloride. The use of pinacol as an oxoaccepting reagent and the production of only acetone and water as byproducts, signals a novel and environmentally friendly way to add value to the oxygen‐rich biomass‐derived polyols. The reaction proceeds through three consecutive cycles, each one responsible for one of the three reductive steps needed to yield aniline from nitrobenzene, with  nitrosobenzene and hydroxylamine as intermediates. Each cycle regenerates the catalyst and releases one water and two acetone molecules. The mechanism involves  singlet/triplet state crossings, a crucial feature in polyoxomolibdate catalyzed processes. The role of the Mo‐coordinated water as the provider of the mysterious protons needed to reduce the nitro group, was revealed. The disclosure of this challenging mechanism and its rate limiting step can contribute to the design of more effective Mo(VI) catalysts.

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