Magnetic Catalyst Provides Attractions

The catalysts are robust, safe and can be recovered simply and efficiently.

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Iron oxide nanoparticles effectively catalyze the three-component coupling of aldehyde, alkyne and amine, report researchers at McGill University, Montreal, Que., and the East China University of Science and Technology, Shanghai. Moreover, the catalysts are robust, safe and can be recovered simply and efficiently via magnets, avoiding particle losses typically encountered with filtration or centrifugation.

The team used Fe3O4 nanoparticles to produce a diverse range of propargylamines at moderate to high yields. These compounds can serve as building blocks and skeletons of biologically active compounds, the researchers note.

The Fe3O4 nanoparticles were magnetically separated (Figure 1), washed with ethyl acetate, air dried and then used again without further purification. The materials went through 12 such cycles without significant loss of catalytic activity, say the researchers.

Work is underway on using the nanoparticles for other reactions, notes Chao-Jun Li of McGill's Department of Chemistry.
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