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Homogeneous hydrogenation catalysts for organic transformations are usually transition metal compounds. Recently, however, Dunn (J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2012, 134, 11330–11333) have reported that the phosphorous compound shown in the figure is capable of catalyzing the reaction of azobenzene with ammonia-borane. The active catalyst is formed by a conversion of the P(III) compound to a nearly trigonal bipyramidal dihydrogen P(V) compound (in the figure). A preliminary study of the kinetics of the process indicate a substantial negative entropy of activation, suggesting a bimolecular collision of the P(V) with the azobenzene.

Last modified on July 21 2012 06:47:12.