The research results of Dr. Hongbin Sun's group from the College of Science, Northeastern University, "Pd-CuFe catalyst for transfer hydrogenation of Nitriles: Controllable selectivity to primary amines and secondary amines" was published online in iScience, the only multidisciplinary and integrated sister journal of Cell. It is encouraging that the teachers of the College of Science once again published research paper in a sister journal of CNS after Professor Xin Zhang published a high-level paper in Nature Communication. The first author of the paper is Lei Liu, who obtained his master degree under the guidance of Dr. Sun. Dr. Hongbin Sun is the corresponding author, and the Department of Chemistry, Northeastern University is the primary completion institution.
According to report, this paper exhibited a methodology for the selective catalytic preparation of amine compounds. The research group applied a novel electron-modification strategy to fine modulate the catalyst structure, thus achieved the transfer hydrogenation of the cyano group to obtain primary and secondary amines with high selectivity separately. This study showed that the close cooperation of the metal components palladium, copper, iron and the support in the catalyst is necessary to achieve a highly efficient and highly selective catalytic reaction. The experimental results showed that an iron-free Pd-Cu catalyst gives primary amine, however, when the copper element are partially substituted by the iron element, the secondary amine selectivity reaches more than 90%. The research team also conducted a scope study of synthetic methods. Fourteen nitriles including aromatic nitriles and aliphatic nitriles produced primary and secondary amines with high selectivity under the catalytic system.