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Nat Chem. 2013 Jun;5(6):537-43. doi: 10.1038/nchem.1645. Epub 2013 May 12.

Heterogenized cobalt oxide catalysts for nitroarene reduction by pyrolysis of molecularly defined complexes.

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Leibniz-Institut für Katalyse e.V. an der Universität Rostock, Albert-Einstein Straße 29a, Rostock 18059, Germany.


Molecularly well-defined homogeneous catalysts are known for a wide variety of chemical transformations. The effect of small changes in molecular structure can be studied in detail and used to optimize many processes. However, many industrial processes require heterogeneous catalysts because of their stability, ease of separation and recyclability, but these are more difficult to control on a molecular level. Here, we describe the conversion of homogeneous cobalt complexes into heterogeneous cobalt oxide catalysts via immobilization and pyrolysis on activated carbon. The catalysts thus produced are useful for the industrially important reduction of nitroarenes to anilines. The ligand indirectly controls the selectivity and activity of the recyclable catalyst and catalyst optimization can be performed at the level of the solution-phase precursor before conversion into the active heterogeneous catalyst.

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