Journal: Journal of the American Chemical Society 2021 143 (6), 2581-2592

Abstract: Metal single-atom catalysts (SACs) promise great rewards in terms of metal atom efficiency. However, the requirement of particular conditions and supports for their synthesis, together with the need of solvents and additives for catalytic implementation, often precludes their use under industrially viable conditions. Here, we show that palladium single atoms are spontaneously formed after dissolving tiny amounts of palladium salts in neat benzyl alcohols, to catalyze their direct aerobic oxidation to benzoic acids without ligands, additives, or solvents. With this result in hand, the gram-scale preparation and stabilization of Pd SACs within the functional channels of a novel methyl-cysteine-based metal−organic framework (MOF) was accomplished, to give a robust and crystalline solid catalyst fully characterized with the help of single-crystal X-ray diffraction (SCXRD). These
results illustrate the advantages of metal speciation in ligand-free homogeneous organic reactions and the translation into solid catalysts for potential industrial implementation.

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