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Improved Synthesis of a Terthiophene-Based Monomeric Ligand That Forms a Highly Active Polymer for the Carbon Dioxide Reduction

[ Vol. 14 , Issue. 7 ]


Pierluigi Quagliotto, Simona Prosperini and Guido Viscardi   Pages 472 - 478 ( 7 )


Background: The carbon-dioxide reduction to obtain important chemicals such as fuels is a topic of high current interest. Recently, monomeric thiophenes and terthiophenes linked to a bipyridine ligand were designed and their polymeric films achieved very high turnover numbers during electrocatalytic CO2 reduction. In this paper we improved the protocol to access the ligand that shows the best performances, in view of opening the way to a general method to obtain side-functionalized terthiophenes.

Methods: Several reactions were attempted to improve the synthetic pathway. Different approaches were attempted to convert the 3-bromothiophene into its 3-iodo analog and to brominate it to obtain the 2,5-dibromo-3-iodothiophene. The synthetic pathway was completed by using Pd-catalyzed crosscoupling reactions such as Sonogashira and Suzuki. The removal of a trimethylsilyl protection was attempted by common methods. However, with the use of a one-pot reaction, both the alkyne deprotection and the final Sonogashira coupling were performed as the key point of the pathway to obtain the final product.

Results: The key intermediate 2,5-dibromo-3-iodothiophene was obtained by a CuI assisted electrophilic aromatic substitution, followed by a bromination with NBS in ethyl acetate. This compound was reacted with TMS-acetylene to obtain the ((2,5-dibromothiophen-3-yl)ethynyl)trimethylsilane which, by a Suzuki reaction, afforded the ([2,2':5',2''-terthiophen]-3'-ylethynyl)trimethylsilane. Using a onepot reaction for the last step, the deprotection of the TMS-protected alkyne and its coupling with 4- bromo-2,2’-bipyridine was accomplished easily. A final 52% yield was achieved over 5 steps.

Conclusion: The ligand 4-([2,2':5',2''-terthiophen]-3'-ylethynyl)-2,2'-bipyridine was prepared in a 52% yield, over 5 steps, improving the previous protocol (17% yield over 4 steps). The rhenium complex of this ligand is still under study for CO2 reduction. This novel protocol can be used to produce a series of analog terthiophene monomers bearing side-attached ligands.


Carbon dioxide reduction, catalysis, Suzuki cross-coupling, Sonogashira cross-coupling, monomeric ligand, polymer.


Dipartimento di Chimica, Università di Torino, via Pietro Giuria 7, 10125 Torino, Dipartimento di Chimica, Università di Torino, Torino, Dipartimento di Chimica, Università di Torino, Torino

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