Zekai Lin, Nathan C. Thacker, Takahiro Sawano, Tasha Drake, Pengfei Ji, Guangxu Lan, Lingyun Cao, Shubin Liu, Cheng Wang, Wenbin Lin
We report the synthesis of a terpyridine-based metal–organic layer (TPY-MOL) and its metalation with CoCl2 and FeBr2 to afford CoCl2·TPY-MOL and FeBr2·TPY-MOL, respectively. Upon activation with NaEt3BH, CoCl2·TPY-MOL catalyzed benzylic C–H borylation of methylarenes whereas FeBr2·TPY-MOL catalyzed intramolecular Csp3–H amination of alkyl azides to afford pyrrolidines and piperidines. X-ray absorption near edge structure (XANES), extended X-ray absorption fine structure (EXAFS), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, UV-Vis-NIR spectroscopy, and electron paramagnetic spectroscopy (EPR) measurements as well as density functional theory (DFT) calculations identified M(THF)2·TPY-MOL (M = Co or Fe) as the active catalyst with a MII-(TPY˙˙)2− electronic structure featuring divalent metals and TPY diradical dianions. We believe that site isolation stabilizes novel MII-(TPY˙˙)2− (M = Co or Fe) species in the MOLs to endow them with unique and enhanced catalytic activities for Csp3–H borylation and intramolecular amination over their homogeneous counterparts. The MOL catalysts are also superior to their metal–organic framework analogs owing to the removal of diffusion barriers. Our work highlights the potential of MOLs as a novel 2D molecular material platform for designing single-site solid catalysts without diffusional constraints.