Direct Conversion of Methane into Formaldehyde Mediated by [Al2O3].+ at Room Temperature


  • This work is supported by the Fonds der Chemischen Industrie, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), and the Cluster of Excellence “Unifying Concepts in Catalysis” (coordinated by the Technische Universität Berlin and funded by the DFG). For computational resources, the Institut für Mathematik at the Technische Universität Berlin is acknowledged. Z.-C.W. is grateful to the Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung for a postdoctoral fellowship. R.K. acknowledges the Stiftung Stipendien-Fonds des Verbandes der Chemischen Industrie for a Kékulé scholarship. We thank Dr. Jianwen Liu (Humboldt Universität zu Berlin) for helpful discussions.


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Just one step: Reactivity studies demonstrate that in the gas phase [Al2O3].+ clusters can efficiently conduct the direct conversion of CH4 into CH2O at room temperature (see scheme). The reaction mechanism is highly complex involving oxygen-atom transfer and a double hydrogen-atom transfer.