The heterogeneous vanadium phosphate oxide catalyst (VPO) is one of the few industrial examples of an abundant first row transition metal performing C-H bond activation, and is used for the 14 electron conversion of butane into maleic anhydride. Originally it was assumed that the C-H activation step occurred at the V=O bond, however recent theoretical studies have shown that the P=O linkage is actually responsible through resonance communication to the VIV-VV redox couple (Figure 1).1 Our research aims to investigate the resonance communication between redox active transition metals and main group elements as it may be crucial to explaining the C-H activation of the VPO catalyst. We plan to conduct a systematic synthetic study of “wiring” abundant redox active metals to main group elements by using resonance stabilized guanidine ligands as bridges.
1. Cheng, M.J.; Goddard, W. A., J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2013, 135, 4600-4603
Advisor: Gabriel Menard