First-row, earth-abundant metals offer an inexpensive and sustainable alternative to precious-metal catalysts. As such, iron and cobalt catalysts have garnered interest as replacements for alkene and alkyne hydrofunctionalization reactions. However, these have required the use of air- and moisture-sensitive catalysts and reagents, limiting both adoption by the non-expert as well as applicability, particularly in industrial settings. Here, we report a simple method for the use of earth-abundant metal catalysts by general activation with sodium tert-butoxide. Using only robust air- and moisture-stable reagents and pre-catalysts, both known and, significantly, novel catalytic activities have been successfully achieved, covering hydrosilylation, hydroboration, hydrovinylation, hydrogenation and [2π+2π] alkene cycloaddition. This activation method allows for the easy use of earth-abundant metals, including iron, cobalt, nickel and manganese, and represents a generic platform for the discovery and application of non-precious metal catalysis.
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S.P.T. acknowledges the University of Edinburgh for a Chancellor's Fellowship and the Royal Society for a University Research Fellowship. J.H.D. and S.P.T. acknowledge GlaxoSmithKline and the EPSRC (EP/M506515/1) for a PhD studentship. J.P. acknowledges the China Scholarship Council for a studentship. The authors thank Z. Huang for provision of the iminopyridine oxazoline ligand.
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
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Docherty, J., Peng, J., Dominey, A. et al. Activation and discovery of earth-abundant metal catalysts using sodium tert-butoxide. Nature Chem 9, 595–600 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1038/nchem.2697
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