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Amorphous Fe2O3 improved [O] transfer cycle of Ce4+/Ce3+ in CeO2 for atom economy synthesis of imines at low temperature

Qin, Jiaheng, Long, Yu, Wu, Wei, Zhang, Wei, Gao, Zekun, Ma, Jiantai
Journal of catalysis 2019 v.371 pp. 161-174
air, aniline, benzyl alcohol, catalysts, catalytic activity, ceric oxide, coprecipitation, ferric oxide, imines, synergism, synthesis, temperature
CeO2 based catalysts have been investigated in various catalytic reactions due to its unique reversible Ce3+/Ce4+ redox pair and physicochemical property, but its poor cycle efficiency and low reservoir limit its wide application in the fine chemicals industry. In this work, a novel amorphous Fe2O3 modified CeO2 catalytic system was developed by a facile co-precipitation method. The as-prepared samples were characterized in detail, and were employed for catalyzing the one-pot synthesis of imine from benzyl alcohol and aniline under air atmosphere at low temperature. The as-prepared sample with molar ratio of Fe:Ce = 8:2 dried at 100 °C (named Fe8Ce2-100) exhibited superhigh activity for atom economy synthesis of imine, which was much higher than the reported CeO2 catalyst, even higher than some noble metal catalysts. It is worth noting that pure amorphous Fe2O3-100 could not catalyze this reaction at all, and both pure CeO2-100 and the mechanical mixed sample with the same molar ratio of Fe:Ce exhibited much more inferior catalytic activity than Fe8Ce2-100. Combining characterization results and the catalytic activities of different catalysts at various reaction conditions, the enhanced catalytic activity of Fe8Ce2-100 could be ascribed to the novel synergistic effect between CeO2 and amorphous Fe2O3. Amorphous Fe2O3 plays the role of engine to greatly improve the [O] transfer cycle of Ce4+/Ce3+, as well as enhances the redox and amphoteric properties of the catalysts. This work firstly determines amorphous Fe2O3 can participate and facilitate the catalytic cycle for organic reaction, and may provide a significant strategy for designing polymetallic oxide catalyst towards organic aerobic transformation.