Solid-State Molecular Organometallic Catalysis in Gas/Solid Flow (Flow-SMOM) as Demonstrated by Efficient Room Temperature and Pressure 1-Butene Isomerization

Antonio J Martínez-Martínez, Cameron G Royle, Samantha K Furfari, Kongkiat Suriye, Andrew S Weller

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The use of solid-state molecular organometallic chemistry (SMOM-chem) to promote the efficient double bond isomerization of 1-butene to 2-butenes under flow-reactor conditions is reported. Single crystalline catalysts based upon the σ-alkane complexes [Rh(R2PCH2CH2PR2)(η2η2-NBA)][BArF4] (R = Cy, tBu; NBA = norbornane; ArF = 3,5-(CF3)2C6H3) are prepared by hydrogenation of a norbornadiene precursor. For the tBu-substituted system this results in the loss of long-range order, which can be re-established by addition of 1-butene to the material to form a mixture of [Rh(tBu2PCH2CH2PtBu2)(cis-2-butene)][BArF4] and [Rh(tBu2PCH2CH2PtBu2)(1-butene)][BArF4], in an order/disorder/order phase change. Deployment under flow-reactor conditions results in very different on-stream stabilities. With R = Cy rapid deactivation (3 h) to the butadiene complex occurs, [Rh(Cy2PCH2CH2PCy2)(butadiene)][BArF4], which can be reactivated by simple addition of H2. While the equivalent butadiene complex does not form with R = tBu at 298 K and on-stream conversion is retained up to 90 h, deactivation is suggested to occur via loss of crystallinity of the SMOM catalyst. Both systems operate under the industrially relevant conditions of an isobutene co-feed. cis:trans selectivites for 2-butene are biased in favor of cis for the tBu system and are more leveled for Cy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1984-1992
Number of pages9
JournalACS Catalysis
Issue number3
Early online date6 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - 7 Feb 2020

Bibliographical note

© 2020 American Chemical Society.


  • 1-butene
  • isomerization
  • molecular organometallic
  • rhodium
  • single-crystal to single-crystal

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