Chem. Sci., 2020, 11, 8113-8124

Abstract: The Pt-catalysed addition of silanes to functional groups such as alkenes, alkynes, carbonyls and alcohols, i.e. the hydrosilylation reaction, is a fundamental transformation in industrial and academic chemistry, often claimed as the most important application of Pt catalysts in solution. However, the exact nature of the Pt active species and its mechanism of action is not well understood yet, particularly regarding regioselectivity. Here, experimental and computational studies together with an ad hoc graphical method show that the hydroaddition of alkynes proceeds through Pt–Si–H clusters of 3–5 atoms (metal(oid) association) in parts per million amounts (ppm), which decrease the energy of the transition state and direct the regioselectivity of the reaction. Based on these findings, new extremely-active (ppm) microporous solid catalysts for the hydrosilylation of alkynes, alkenes and alcohols have been developed, paving the way for more environmentally-benign industrial applications.

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