A metal-free carbon catalyst for oxidative dehydrogenation of aryl cyclohexenes to produce biaryl compounds

Mingze Yang, Anna Lenarda, Sana Frindy, Yushuai Sang, Valtteri Oksanen, Adriano Bolognani, Lisa Hendrickx, Juho Helaja*, Yongdan Li*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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A metal-free route based on a carbon catalyst to synthesize biphenyls through oxidative dehydrogenation (ODH) of phenyl cyclohexene has been investigated. Among the samples examined, an air-oxidized active carbon exhibits the best activity with a 9.1 × 10−2 h−1 rate constant, yielding 74% biphenyl in 28 h at 140 °C under five bar O2 in anisole. The apparent activation energy is measured as 54.5 kJ⋅mol−1. The extended reaction scope, consisting of 15 differently substituted phenyl cyclohexenes, shows the wide applicability of the proposed method. The catalyst’s good recyclability over six runs suggests this ODH method as a promising route to access the biaryl compounds. In addition, the reaction mechanism is investigated with a combination of X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, functional group blocking, and model compounds of carbon catalysts and is proposed to be based on the redox cycle of the quinoidic groups on the carbon surface. Additional experiments prove that the addition of the catalytic amount of acid (methanesulfonic acid) accelerates the reaction. In addition, Hammett plot examination suggests the formation of a carbonium intermediate, and its possible structure is outlined.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2303564120
Pages (from-to)e2303564120
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number31
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jul 2023
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


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