A multicomponent nanocatalyst system was fabricated for the transfer hydrogenation of nitrile compounds. This catalyst system contains palladium, copper, and iron, which are supported on the magnetite nanospheres, and the loading of palladium could be at the parts per million level. Palladium and copper contribute to the transformation of nitrile, and the product distribution highly depends on the alloying of Fe to Cu. The nitriles could be converted to primary amine by the Pd-Cu catalyst in the absence of Fe, whereas in the presence of Fe the products are secondary amines with high selectivity. This could be attributed to the electronic modulation of iron to copper. A variety of nitriles have been transformed to the corresponding primary or secondary amines with high selectivity, and the TOF reaches 2,929 hr−1 for Pd. Furthermore, the catalyst could be recycled by an external magnetic field and reused five times without severe activity loss.
Liu, L., Liu, Y., Ai, Y., Li, J., Zhou, J., Fan, Z., … Sun, H. (2018). Pd-CuFe Catalyst for Transfer Hydrogenation of Nitriles: Controllable Selectivity to Primary Amines and Secondary Amines. IScience, 8, 61–73. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.isci.2018.09.010