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Oxygen Insertion Catalysis by sp2 Carbon


  • This work was supported financially by the EnerChem project of the Max Planck Society. We thank D. S. Su and O. V. Khavryuchenko for discussions, and L. I. Csepei for assistance with the experiments. The chemical structures shown in Figures 1, 3, and S3 were created using Jmol open-source software.


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Black matter in catalysis: Graphitic carbon catalyzes the insertion of O atoms into acrolein. Such complex multistep atom rearrangements were believed to be the exclusive domain of metal (oxide) catalysis. In the C-catalyzed process, the nucleophilic O atoms terminating the graphite (0001) surface abstract the formyl H atom and the activated aldehyde is oxidized by a mobile epoxide O atom. Thus, the sp2 carbon acts as a bifunctional catalyst.