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J Org Chem. 2004 Oct 1;69(20):6851-9.

Poly(ethylene glycol)-supported nitroxyls: branched catalysts for the selective oxidation of alcohols.

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  • 1School of Chemistry, The University of Reading, Whiteknights, Reading RG6 6AD, U.K.


Nitroxyl radicals such as 2,2,6,6-tetramethylpiperidine-1-oxyl (TEMPO) are highly selective oxidation catalysts for the conversion of primary alcohols into the corresponding aldehydes. In this study, direct tethering of TEMPO units onto linear poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) has afforded macromolecular catalysts that exhibit solubility in both aqueous and organic solvents. Recovery of the dissolved polymer-supported catalyst has been carried out by precipitation with a suitable solvent such as diethyl ether. The high catalyst activities and selectivities associated traditionally with nitroxyl-mediated oxidations of alcohols are retained by the series of "linker-less" linear PEG-TEMPO catalysts in which the TEMPO moiety is coupled directly to the PEG support. Although the selectivity remains unaltered, upon recycling of the linker-less polymer-supported catalysts, extended reaction times are required to maintain high yields of the desired carbonyl compounds. Alternatively, attachment of two nitroxyl radicals onto each functionalized PEG chain terminus via a 5-hydroxyisophthalic acid linker affords branched polymer-supported catalysts. In stark contrast to the linker-less catalysts, these branched nitroxyls exhibit catalytic activities up to five times greater than 4-methoxy-TEMPO alone under similar conditions. In addition, minimal decrease in catalytic activity is observed upon recycling of these branched macromolecular catalysts via solvent-induced precipitation. The high catalytic activities and preservation of activity upon recycling of these branched systems is attributed to enhanced regeneration of the nitroxyl species as a result of intramolecular syn-proportionation.

Copyright 2004 American Chemical Society

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