Theoretical study of photoinduced epoxidation of olefins catalyzed by ruthenium porphyrin

Atsushi Ishikawa, Shigeyoshi Sakaki*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Epoxidation of olefin by [Ru(TMP)(CO)(O)]- (TMP = tetramesitylporphine), which is a key step of the photocatalyzed epoxidation of olefin by [Ru(TMP)(CO)], is studied mainly with the density functional theory (DFT) method, where [Ru(Por)(CO)] is employed as a model complex (Por = unsubstituted porphyrin). The CASSCF method was also used to investigate the electronic structure of important species in the catalytic cycle. In all of the ruthenium porphyrin species involved in the catalytic cycle, the weight of the main configuration of the CASSCF wave function is larger than 85%, suggesting that the static correlation is not very large. Also, unrestricted-DFT-calculated natural orbitals are essentially the same as CASSCF-calculated ones, here. On the basis of these results, we employed the DFT method in this work. Present computational results show characteristic features of this reaction, as follows: (i) The epoxidation reaction occurs via carboradical-type transition state. Neither carbocation-type nor concerted oxene-insertion-type character is observed in the transition state. (ii) Electron and spin populations transfer from the olefin moiety to the porphyrin ring in the step of the C-O bond formation. (iii) Electron and spin populations of the olefin and porphyrin moieties considerably change around the transition state. (iv) The atomic and spin populations of Ru change little in the reaction, indicating that the Ru center keeps the +II oxidation state in the whole catalytic cycle. (v) The stability of the olefin adduct [Ru(Por)(CO)(O)(olefin)]- considerably depends on the kind of olefin, such as ethylene, n-hexene, and styrene. In particular, styrene forms a stable olefin adduct. And, (vi) interestingly, the difference in the activation barrier among these olefins is small in the quantitative level (within 5 kcal/mol), indicating that this catalyst can be applied to various substrates. This is because the stabilities and electronic structures of both the olefin adduct and the transition state are similarly influenced by the substituent of olefin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4774-4785
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry A
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 2011 May 12
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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