• biphasic catalysis;
  • homogeneous catalysis;
  • hydroformylation;
  • rhodium;
  • surfactants


A hydrophilic metal–ligand complex formed from the precursor [dicarbonyl(acetylacetonato)rhodium(I)] {[Rh(acac)(CO)2]} and the bidentate ligand [2,7-bis(SO3Na)-4,5-bis(diphenylphosphino)-9,9-dimethylxanthene] (SulfoXantPhos), was found to be a suitable candidate as a catalyst complex for the hydroformylation of 1-dodecene in multiphase systems formulated from water, 1-dodecene, and a nonionic surfactant. To improve the solubilization of the olefin in the aqueous phase, surfactants were added. The multiphase system acted as a tunable solvent, through which not only the interfacial area was increased during the reaction but also the phase separation behavior could be manipulated through temperature changes, thus allowing an easy separation of the expensive rhodium complex from the organic phase after the reaction. The influence of different process parameters such as the type of surfactant, type of ligand, and the metal/ligand ratio was investigated and discussed. Also the influence of the phase state on the reaction was determined. Under optimized reaction conditions, turnover frequencies of >300 h−1 and selectivities of 98:2 towards the linear product could be achieved.