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Pure Appl. Chem., 2009, Vol. 81, No. 7, pp. 1279-1296

Published online 2009-06-29

Vanadium-salen and -salan complexes: Characterization and application in oxygen-transfer reactions

Pedro Adão1, Mannar R. Maurya2, Umesh Kumar2, Fernando Avecilla3, Rui T. Henriques1, Maxim L. Kusnetsov1, João Costa Pessoa1* and Isabel Correia1*

1 Centro Química Estrutural, Instituto Superior Técnico, TU Lisbon, Av. Rovísco Pais, 1049-001 Lisbon, Portugal
2 Department of Chemistry, Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee 247667, India
3 Departamento de Química Fundamental, Universidade da Coruña, Campus da A Zapateira, 15071, A Coruña, Spain

Abstract: Salen complexes are a versatile and standard system in oxidation catalysis. Their reduced derivatives, called salan, share their versatility but are still widely unexplored. We report the synthesis of a group of new vanadium-salen and -salan complexes, their characterization and application in the oxidation of simple organic molecules with H2O2. The ligands are derived from pyridoxal and chiral diamines (1,2-diaminocyclohexane and 1,2-diphenylethylenediamine) and were easily obtained in high yields. The VIV complexes were prepared and characterized in the solid state (Fourier transform infrared, FTIR, and magnetic properties) and in solution by spectroscopic techniques: UV–vis, circular dichroism (CD), electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR), and 51V NMR, which provide information on the coordination geometry. Single crystals suitable for X-ray diffraction studies were obtained from solutions containing the VIV-pyr(S,S-chan) complex: [VVO{pyr(S,S-chen)}]2(μ-O)2·2(CH3)2NCHO, where the ligand is the “half” Schiff base formed by pyridoxal and 1S,2S-diaminocyclohexane. The dinuclear species shows a OVV(μ-O)2VVO unit with tridentate ligands and two μ-oxo bridges. The VIV complexes of the salan-type ligands oxidize in organic solvents to a VV species, and the process was studied by spectroscopic techniques. The complexes were tested as catalysts in the oxidation of styrene, cyclohexene, and cumene with H2O2 as oxidant. Overall, the V-salan complexes show higher activity than the parent V-salen complexes and are an alternative ligand system for oxidation catalysis.