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Activation of Methane and Other Alkanes with Electrophilic Gold complexes


C-H activation (functionalization) is the direct and selective substitution of a carbon-hydrogen bond by new, lower in energy C-X bonds (C-C, C-O, C-N, among others) and is one of the most important current goals in chemistry. These transformations have very broad potential in synthesis because C-H bonds are ubiquitous and their selective activation will change current practice of organic synthesis of complex molecules in research laboratories and in industry. The aim of our Strategic Action is to develop new systems for the catalytic activation of methane and other alkanes based on gold chemistry. Specifically, we wish to discover new reactions for the oxidation of methane to methanol under mild conditions using robust Au(III) complexes. Additional objectives are: (i) selective functionalization of activated C-H bonds (benzylic, allylic, or tertiary) in complex molecules using similar systems to those developed for the activation of simple alkanes. (ii). The development of new gold-oxo complexes as catalysts for the oxidations of alkenes. This proposal takes advantage of the knowledge on catalyst design and methodology development of the two research groups involved in the INTECAT project that has led in recent years, among others, to the synthesis of a series of highly electrophilic gold(I) complexes for the activation of alkynes, the cyclopropanation of alkenes, as well as for the C-H activation of alkanes via carbene-transfer processes. Theoretical work will lead us in the design and synthesis of new gold-compexes and in the understanding of the mechanism of C-H activation.

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Avenida Paissos Catalans 16
43007 Tarragona

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Activity type
Research Organisations
Administrative Contact
Elias Daura Oller (Dr.)
EU contribution
€ 84 032,80