The Innovation (Jan 2023)

Upgrading heterogeneous Ni catalysts with thiol modification

  • Pengpeng Ruan,
  • Bili Chen,
  • Qin Zhou,
  • Hansong Zhang,
  • Yahao Wang,
  • Kunlong Liu,
  • Wenting Zhou,
  • Ruixuan Qin,
  • Zhi Liu,
  • Gang Fu,
  • Nanfeng Zheng

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 4, no. 1
p. 100362


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Precious metal catalysts are the cornerstone of many industrial processes. Replacing precious metal catalysts with earth-abundant metals is one of key challenges for the green and sustainable development of chemical industry. We report in this work a surprisingly effective strategy toward the development of cost-effective, air-stable, and efficient Ni catalysts by simple surface modification with thiols. The as-prepared catalysts exhibit unprecedentedly high activity and selectivity in the reductive amination of aldehydes/ketones. The thiol modification can not only prevent the deep oxidation of Ni surface to endow the catalyst with long shelf life in air but can also allow the reductive amination to proceed via a non-contact mechanism to selectively produce primary amines. The catalytic performance is far superior to that of precious and non-precious metal catalysts reported in the literature. The wide application scope and high catalytic performance of the developed Ni catalysts make them highly promising for the low-cost, green production of high-value amines in chemical industry.