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A sulfur-tolerant catalyst for the deoxygenation of sulfoxides

By Gerald Ondrey |

The transformation of sulfur-containing molecules is an important reaction in organic and pharmaceutical chemistry. However, the sulfur atom strongly coordinates with the active sites of metal catalysts, significantly decreasing the catalytic performance. Sulfur impurities contained in chemical feedstocks also cause catalyst deactivation. Therefore, the development of a new sulfur-tolerant and highly active catalyst is desired. To meet this need, researchers at Osaka University (Japan; www.osaka-u.ac.jp) have developed a highly active and durable metal-phosphide catalyst for the deoxygenation of sulfoxides into sulfides. As described in a recent issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society Au, the developed catalyst has a high durability against sulfur-poisoning in contrast with the conventional metal catalysts. The catalyst — precious metal phosphide nanoparticles — is prepared by integrating phosphorus into the metal framework using a technique known as phosphorus-alloying. In doing so, the catalytic performance of the precious metal nanoparticles is said to be greatly improved. In particular, the ruthenium phosphide nanoparticles (Ru−P/SiO2) exhibited a ten-times higher catalytic activity than Ru/SiO2. In one of…
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