Well-defined N-heterocyclic carbene/ruthenium complexes for the alcohol amidation with amines: The dual role of cesium carbonate and improved activities applying an added ligand

Wan Qiang Wang, Ye Yuan, Yang Miao, Bao Yi Yu, Hua Jing Wang, Zhi Qin Wang, Wei Sang, Cheng Chen, Francis Verpoort

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Dehydrogenative amide bond formation from alcohols and amines has been regarded as an atom-economic and sustainable process. Among various catalytic systems, N-heterocyclic carbene (NHC)-based Ru catalytic systems have attracted growing interest due to the outstanding properties of NHCs as ligands. Herein, an NHC/Ru complex (1) was prepared and its structure was further confirmed with X-ray crystallography. In the presence of Cs2CO3, two NHC/Ru-based catalytic systems were disclosed to be active for this amide synthesis. System A, which did not contain any added ligand, required a catalyst loading of 1.00 mol%. Interestingly, improved catalytic performance was realized by the addition of an NHC precursor (L). Optimization of the amounts of L and other conditions gave rise to system B, a much more potent system with the Ru loading as low as 0.25 mol%. Moreover, an NHC-Ru-carbonate complex 6 was identified from the refluxing toluene of 1 and Cs2CO3, and further investigations revealed that 6 was an important intermediate for this catalytic reaction. Based on the above results, we claimed that the role of Cs2CO3 was to facilitate the formation of key intermediate 6. On the other hand, it provided the optimized basicity for the selective amide formation.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere5323
JournalApplied Organometallic Chemistry
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2020



  • amide synthesis
  • C-N bond formation
  • complex
  • N-heterocyclic carbene(s)
  • ruthenium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Inorganic Chemistry

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