Importance of counterion reactivity on the deactivation of Co-salen catalysts in the hydrolytic kinetic resolution of epichlorohydrin

Surbhi Jain, Xiaolai Zheng, Christopher W. Jones, Marcus Weck, Robert J. Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Possible modes of deactivation of Jacobsen's Co-salen catalyst during the hydrolytic kinetic resolution (HKR) of epichlorohydrin were explored by UV-vis spectroscopy, X-ray absorption spectroscopy, and electrospray ionization mass spectrometry, combined with recycling studies. Although an active Co(III)-salen catalyst deactivated substantially after multiple cycles without regeneration, the catalyst maintained its +3 oxidation state throughout the runs. Thus, deactivation of Co-salen during HKR was not the result of Co reduction. The mass spectrum of a deactivated material showed that catalyst dimerization does not account for the loss of activity. Results from various catalyst pretreatment tests, as well as from catalysts containing various counterions (acetate, tosylate, chloride, iodide) indicated that the rate of addition of the Co-salen counterions to epoxide forming Co-OH during the reaction correlated with deactivation. The extent of counterion addition to epoxide was influenced by the exposure time and the nucleophilicity of the counterion. An oligo(cyclooctene)-supported Co-OAc salen catalyst, which was 25 times more active than the standard Co-salen catalyst, was recycled multiple times with negligible deactivation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8887-8896
Number of pages10
JournalInorganic Chemistry
Issue number21
StatePublished - Oct 15 2007


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry

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