iScience. 2023 Aug 12;26(9):107608. doi: 10.1016/j.isci.2023.107608. eCollection 2023 Sep 15.
An unprecedented efficient protocol is developed for the oxidative cleavage of C≡C bonds in alkynes to produce structure-diverse esters using heterogeneous cobalt nanoparticles as catalyst with molecular oxygen as the oxidant. A diverse set of mono- and multisubstituted aromatic and aliphatic alkynes can be effectively cleaved and converted into the corresponding esters. Characterization analysis and control experiments indicate high surface area and pore volume, as well as nanostructured nitrogen-doped graphene-layer coated cobalt nanoparticles are possibly responsible for excellent catalytic activity. Mechanistic studies reveal that ketones derived from alkynes under oxidative conditions are formed as intermediates, which subsequently are converted to esters through a tandem sequential process. The catalyst can be recycled up to five times without significant loss of activity.