28 May 2024

Computational analysis of R–X oxidative addition to Pd nanoparticles

Oxidative addition (OA) is a necessary step in mechanisms of widely used synthetic methodologies such as the Heck reaction, cross-coupling reactions, and the Buchwald–Hartwig amination. This study pioneers the exploration of OA of aryl halide to palladium nanoparticles (NPs), a process previously unaddressed in contrast to the activity of well-studied Pd(0) complexes. Employing DFT modeling and semi-empirical metadynamics simulations, the oxidative addition of phenyl bromide to Pd nanoparticles was investigated in detail. Energy profiles of oxidative addition to Pd NPs were analyzed and compared to those involving Pd(0) complexes forming under both ligand-stabilized (phosphines) and ligandless (amine base) conditions. Metadynamics simulations highlighted the edges of the (1 1 1) facets of Pd NPs as the key element of oxidative addition activity. We demonstrate that OA to Pd NPs is not only kinetically facile at ambient temperatures but also thermodynamically favorable. This finding accentuates the necessity of incorporating OA to Pd NPs in future investigations, thus providing a more realistic view of the involved catalytic mechanisms. These results enhance the understanding of aryl halide (cross-)coupling reactions, reinforcing the concept of a catalytic "cocktail". This concept posits dynamic interconversions between diverse active and inactive centers, collectively affecting the outcome of the reaction. High activity of Pd NPs in direct C–X activation paves the way for novel approaches in catalysis, potentially enhancing the field and offering new catalytic pathways to consider.

Reference: Chem. Sci. , 2024, ASAP.

DOI: 10.1039/D4SC00628C