Lindlar catalysts comprising of palladium/calcium carbonate modified with lead acetate and quinoline are widely employed industrially for the partial hydrogenation of alkynes. However, their use is restricted, particularly for food, cosmetic and drug manufacture, due to the extremely toxic nature of lead, and the risk of its leaching from catalyst surface. In addition, the catalysts also exhibit poor selectivities in a number of cases. Here we report that a non-surface modification of palladium gives rise to the formation of an ultra-selective nanocatalyst. Boron atoms are found to take residence in palladium interstitial lattice sites with good chemical and thermal stability. This is favoured due to a strong host-guest electronic interaction when supported palladium nanoparticles are treated with a borane tetrahydrofuran solution. The adsorptive properties of palladium are modified by the subsurface boron atoms and display ultra-selectivity in a number of challenging alkyne hydrogenation reactions, which outclass the performance of Lindlar catalysts.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)