The aerobic oxidation of organic compounds is of great importance for industry due to the marketability of the products. For example, the oxidation of tetralin affords 1-tetralone, which is a commercially important organic compound that can be used as an additive to enhance the cetane number in diesel fuels.
Hermenegildo Garcia and colleagues, Instituto Universitario de Tecnología Química, CSIC-UPV, and University Politécnica de Valencia, Spain, have developed a series of graphene-based carbocatalysts that can oxidize benzylic compounds (such as tetralin), cyclooctane, and styrene. The catalytic activity of these graphene nanosheets was modified by doping with boron and nitrogen atoms, and the oxidation of substrates to the corresponding alcohol/ketone mixtures was achieved with more than 90 % selectivity.
Another advantage of these graphene-derived materials is their sustainability: carbon is a renewable resource and N-doped graphene can be prepared from the naturally occurring biomass, chitosan.
By exploiting the intrinsic catalytic activity of graphene, this method offers a new, sustainable methodology for the synthesis of oxidized compounds based on sustainable carbocatalysts and oxygen without the need for additional solvent or transition metals.
- Doped Graphene as a Metal-Free Carbocatalyst for the Selective Aerobic Oxidation of Benzylic Hydrocarbons, Cyclooctane and Styrene,
Amarajothi Dhakshinamoorthy, Ana Primo, Patricia Concepcion, Mercedes Alvaro, Hermenegildo Garcia,
Chem. Eur. J. 2013.