Mechanistic Insights into the Dicopper-Complex-Catalyzed Hydroxylation of Methane and Benzene Using Nitric Oxide: A DFT Study

Tsukasa Abe, Yohei Kametani, Kazunari Yoshizawa, Yoshihito Shiota

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4 Citations (Scopus)


Although hydrocarbons are known to act as reductants for the catalytic reduction of nitric oxides (NOx) over copper-based catalysts, the reaction mechanism requires clarification. Herein, density functional theory (DFT) calculations were carried out to investigate the reduction mechanisms of NOx to dinitrogen coupled to the hydroxylation of methane or benzene using the dicopper complex reported by Zhang and co-workers [ J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2019, 141, 10159-10164 ]. The B3LYP functional was used to optimize the (μ-oxo)(μ-nitrosyl)dicopper complex in the quartet state and the (μ-η2:η2-NO2)dicopper complex in the doublet state, the latter of which was found to be the ground state. Then, we investigated the reactivities of the (μ- η2:η2-NO2)dicopper complex toward methane and benzene by considering the conversions of N2O to N2 in the presence and the absence of methane or benzene. In the presence of methane and benzene, the calculated activation energies were 27.0 and 21.0 kcal/mol, respectively, whereas that with N2O alone was prohibitively high (61.9 kcal/mol). Thus, the (μ- η2:η2-NO2)dicopper complex prefers the reactions with methane and benzene to that with N2O. The reaction of the (μ- η2:η2-NO2)dicopper complex with methane or benzene generated the (μ-nitrosyl)dicopper complex. The (μ-nitrosyl)dicopper complex then reacted with N2O to regenerate the (μ- η2:η2-NO2)dicopper complex and N2 with an activation barrier of 31.5 kcal/mol. The overall reactions for methane and benzene hydroxylation were calculated to be exothermic by 41.7 and 54.1 kcal/mol, respectively. These results suggest that the catalytic reduction of NOx using hydrocarbons is feasible at certain operating temperatures. Thus, our calculations provide new insights into the design of catalysts for NOx purification.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4599-4609
Number of pages11
JournalInorganic chemistry
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Apr 5 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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