Iron-Catalyzed Arene C–H Hydroxylation

Wei Han presents results of highly selective iron-catalyzed arene C–H hydroxylations.

Phenols are among the most important precursors for the manufacture of pharmaceuticals, dyes, and functional polymers. The group of Professor Wei Han at Nanjing Normal University (P. R. of China) has been investigating novel, more efficient and greener methods to produce functionalized phenols from readily available starting materials. Professor Han mentioned that “benzene C–H hydroxylation is generally regarded as the most straightforward and direct of all approaches to phenol. However, direct and selective conversion of benzene into phenol with molecular oxygen as oxidant is referred to as one of the ‘ten challenges for catalysis’ because the C–H bond dissociation energy of benzene is high, thus phenol is far more reactive toward oxidation than benzene itself, producing over-oxygenated by-products.

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