Cyclotrimerization of alkynes vs. ketone formation in aqueous microemulsion

Zackaria Nairoukh, Monzer Fanun, Michael Schwarze, Reinhard Schomäcker, Jochanan Blum*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


In the course of our attempts to develop sustainable conditions for the catalytic organic reactions by replacement of the traditional but environmentally disfavored organic solvents by water, we studied the cyclotrimerizations of alkynes, in aqueous microemulsions. The catalyst for these reactions was the rhodium-trichloride encaged within silica sol-gel. In acidic aqueous media, alkynes can undergo addition of water to form their corresponding ketones. In order to eliminate completely the formation of ketones, relatively low reaction temperatures are required. At higher reaction temperatures, however, buffered microemulsion media is preferable. Cyclotrimerization of alkynes proved to be dependent on the reaction temperatures, the electronic nature of the substrates, the electronic nature of the surfactant and on the hydrophobicity of the sol-gel support. During the cyclotrimerization reaction, the rhodium complex was turned to Rh(0) nanoparticles characterized by TEM measurements. These investigations may be regarded as model studies for the conversion of alkynes into substituted benzenes in water.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)93-98
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Molecular Catalysis A: Chemical
StatePublished - Feb 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of this trilateral study by the Deutsche Forschungsgemainschaft (DFG) through grant SCHO687/8-2 . We also thank Prof. David Avnir for his continuous support and collaboration.


  • Alkynes cyclotrimerization
  • Alkynes hydration
  • Heterogeneous catalysis
  • Microemulsion
  • Sustainable chemistry


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