Ruthenium/imidazolylphosphine catalysis: Hydrogenation of aliphatic and aromatic nitriles to form amines

Svenja Werkmeister, Kathrin Junge, Bianca Wendt, Anke Spannenberg, Haijun Jiao, Christoph Bornschein, Matthias Beller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


A convenient and efficient catalyst system for the hydrogenation of aliphatic nitriles towards the corresponding primary amines in high to excellent yields is presented. In addition, aromatic nitriles are reduced smoothly, too. The use of low catalyst loadings and molecular hydrogen make this protocol an attractive methodology. It's not complicated: A general and easy homogeneous catalyst system based on [Ru(cod)(methylallyl)2] and a cyclohexyl-substituted imidazolylphosphine ligand for selective hydrogenation of aliphatic nitriles is presented. In addition, by using an isopropyl-substituted imidazolylphosphine ligand, selected aromatic nitriles were reduced with excellent yields towards the primary amine. Furthermore, two new crystal structures give an insight of possible pre-catalysts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4227-4231
Number of pages5
JournalChemistry - A European Journal
Issue number15
StatePublished - 7 Apr 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • P N ligands
  • amine
  • hydrogenation
  • nitrile
  • ruthenium


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