Pengfei Ji, Kuntal Manna (co-first), Zekai Lin, Ania Urban, Francis X. Greene, Guangxu Lan, and Wenbin Lin*
We report here the synthesis of robust and porous metal–organic frameworks (MOFs), M-MTBC (M = Zr or Hf), constructed from the tetrahedral linker methane-tetrakis(p-biphenylcarboxylate) (MTBC) and two types of secondary building units (SBUs): cubic M8(μ2-O)8(μ2-OH)4 and octahedral M6(μ3-O)4(μ3-OH)4. While the M6-SBU is isostructural with the 12-connected octahedral SBUs of UiO-type MOFs, the M8-SBU is composed of eight MIV ions in a cubic fashion linked by eight μ2-oxo and four μ2-OH groups. The metalation of Zr-MTBC SBUs with CoCl2, followed by treatment with NaBEt3H, afforded highly active and reusable solid Zr-MTBC-CoH catalysts for the hydrogenation of alkenes, imines, carbonyls, and heterocycles. Zr-MTBC-CoH was impressively tolerant of a range of functional groups and displayed high activity in the hydrogenation of tri- and tetra-substituted alkenes with TON > 8000 for the hydrogenation of 2,3-dimethyl-2-butene. Our structural and spectroscopic studies show that site isolation of and open environments around the cobalt-hydride catalytic species at Zr8-SBUs are responsible for high catalytic activity in the hydrogenation of a wide range of challenging substrates. MOFs thus provide a novel platform for discovering and studying new single-site base-metal solid catalysts with enormous potential for sustainable chemical synthesis.