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Organophotocatalysis in nanostructured soft gel materials as tunable reaction vessels: Comparison with homogeneous and micellar solutions
J. Bachl, A. Hohenleutner, , C. Cativiela, U. Maitra, B. König, D.D. Díaz
Published in Royal Society of Chemistry
Volume: 1
Issue: 14
Pages: 4577 - 4588
Riboflavin tetraacetate-catalyzed aerobic photooxidation of 1-(4-methoxyphenyl)ethanol was investigated as a model reaction under blue visible light in different soft gel materials, aiming to establish their potential as reaction vessels for photochemical transformations. Three strategies involving different degrees of organization of the catalyst within the gel network were explored, and the results compared to those obtained in homogeneous and micellar solutions. In general, physical entrapment of both the catalyst and the substrate under optimized concentrations into several hydrogel matrices (including low-molecular-weight and biopolymer-based gels) allowed the photooxidation with conversions between 55 and 100% within 120 min (TOF ∼ 0.045-0.08 min-1; kobs ∼ 0.011-0.028 min -1), albeit with first-order rates ca. 1-3-fold lower than in solution under comparable non-stirred conditions. Remarkably, the organogel made of a cyclohexane-based bisamide gelator in CH3CN not only prevented the photodegradation of the catalyst but also afforded full conversion in less than 60 min (TOF ∼ 0.167 min-1; kobs ∼ 0.073 min-1) without the need of additional proton transfer mediators (e.g., thiourea) as it occurs in CH3CN solutions. In general, the gelators could be recycled without detriment to their gelation ability and reaction rates. Moreover, kinetics could be fine-tuned according to the characteristics of the gel media. For instance, entangled fibrillar networks with relatively high mechanical strength were usually associated with lower reaction rates, whereas wrinkled laminated morphologies seemed to favor the reaction. In addition, the kinetics results showed in most cases a good correlation with the aeration efficiency of the gel media. © The Royal Society of Chemistry.
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