Amine-functionalised hexagonal mesoporous silica as support for copper(II) acetylacetonate catalyst

Ana R. Silva, Karen Wilson, Adrian C. Whitwood, James H. Clark, Cristina Freire

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Copper(II) acetylacetonate was anchored onto a hexagonal mesoporous silica (HMS) material using a two-step procedure: (i) functionalisation of the surface hydroxy groups with (3-aminopropyl)triethoxysilane (AMPTSi) and then (ii) anchoring of the copper(II) complex through Schiff condensation with free amine groups, using two different metal complex loadings. Upon the first step, nitrogen elemental analysis, XPS and DRIFT showed the presence of amine groups on the surface of the HMS material, and porosimetry indicated that the structure of the mesoporous material remained unchanged, although a slight decrease in surface area was observed. Atomic absorption, XPS and DRIFT showed that copper(II) acetylacetonate was anchored onto the amine-functionalised HMS by Schiff condensation between the free amine groups and the carbonyl groups of the copper(II) complex; using EPR an NO3 coordination sphere was proposed for the anchored copper(II) complex. The new [Cu(acac)2]-AMPTSi/HMS materials were tested in the aziridination of styrene at room temperature, using PhI=NTs as nitrogen source and acetonitrile as solvent. The styrene conversion and total TON of the heterogeneous phase reaction are higher than those of the same reaction catalysed in homogeneous phase by [Cu(acac)2]; nevertheless, the initial activity decreases and the reaction time increases due to substrate and product diffusion limitations. The heterogeneous catalyst showed a successive slight decrease in catalytic activity when reused for two more times.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1275-1283
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Inorganic Chemistry
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 20 Mar 2006


  • copper
  • anchoring
  • mesoporous silica
  • EPR spectroscopy
  • aziridination


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