Low-valent metals traditionally dominate the domain of catalytic hydrogenation. However, metal-ligand cooperating (MLC) catalytic systems, operating through heterolytic H−H bond splitting by a Lewis acidic metal and a basic ligand site, do not require an electron-rich metal. On the contrary, high-valent metals that induce weaker back donation facilitate heterolytic bond activation. Here we report, for the first time, the efficient hydrogenation of carbonyl and carboxyl compounds under molecular hydrogen catalyzed by a structurally well-defined RuIV catalyst bearing a bifunctional PCP pincer ligand. The catalyst exhibits reactivity toward molecular hydrogen superior to that of the low-valent analog and allows hydrogen activation even at room temperature.
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- cooperative catalysis
- high-valent ruthenium
- pincer complexes