Catalytic chemoselective functionalization of methane in a metal-organic framework

Xuan Zhang, Zhiyuan Huang, Magali Ferrandon, Dali Yang, Lee Robison, Peng Li, Timothy C. Wang, Massimiliano Delferro*, Omar K. Farha

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


Methane constitutes the largest fraction of natural gas reserves and is a low-cost abundant starting material for the synthesis of value-added chemicals and fuel. Selective catalytic functionalization of methane remains a vital goal in the chemical sciences due to its low intrinsic reactivity. Borylation has recently emerged as a promising route for the catalytic functionalization of methane. A major challenge in this regard is selective borylation towards the monoborylated product that is more active than methane and can easily lead to over-functionalization. Herein, we report a highly selective microporous metal-organic-framework-supported iridium(iii) catalyst for methane borylation that exhibits a chemoselectivity of >99% (mono versus bis at 19.5% yield; turnover number = 67) for monoborylated methane, with bis(pinacolborane) as the borylation reagent in dodecane, at 150 °C and 34 atm of methane. The preference for the monoborylated product is ascribed to the shape-selective effect of the metal-organic framework pore structures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)356-362
Number of pages7
JournalNature Catalysis
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Bioengineering
  • Biochemistry
  • Process Chemistry and Technology

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