Transition metal catalysis is a necessary branch of organic synthesis. Both monometallic and bimetallic catalysts can reduce reaction times, improve regio- and enantioselectivity, and minimize byproducts. Additionally, bimetallic catalysts can cooperatively activate substrates, which can enable new reactions and mechanistic pathways. The first half of this work will describe the synthesis and catalytic ability of our novel Pd(I) and Pd(II) dimers. Both dimers use a 2-phosphinoimidazole ligand scaffold to bring the metal centers in close proximity. The Pd(II) dimer can catalyze the synthesis of 1,3-disubstituted naphthalene rings from commercially available aryl iodides and methyl ketones with high regioselectivity and yields. Mechanistic and theoretical studies suggest the mechanism undergoes a Pd(III)–Pd(III) like intermediate. Additionally, we studied the impact of precatalyst oxidation state on C–N bonding reactions. We found that our Pd(I) dimer performed better in Buchwald-Hartwig aminations, while our Pd(II) dimer was shown to be extremely active in aminocarbonylation reactions. Both reactions gave C–N bonding products in good to excellent yield. The second portion of this work describes our novel Pd N–H NHC complex and its application in Suzuki-Miyaura cross couplings. In the presence of methanol, a Pd(II) salt will insert into the C–P bond of a 2-phosphinoimidazole ligand to give a protic NHC complex. The acidic hydrogen can be deprotonated under reaction conditions to give an anionic complex, which further increases the electron density on palladium as shown in Tolman Electronic Parameter studies. Application of the catalyst in Suzuki-Miyaura and Sonogashira coupling reactions gave product in high yield. Since our Pd N–H NHC complex with a diphenylphosphine ligand could not activate aryl chlorides, we then applied 2-dialkylphopshinoimidazole ligands. When the dialkyl ligands were stirred with Pd(II) salts in methanol, an equilibrium was observed between N–H NHC and P–N coordination complexes. When the catalytic mixture was applied to Suzuki-Miyaura cross-couplings, (hetero)aryl chlorides gave high yields with low catalyst loadings.



College and Department

Physical and Mathematical Sciences; Chemistry and Biochemistry



Date Submitted


Document Type





bimetallic, palladium, N-heterocyclic carbene, catalyst, naphthalene, C–N bonding, Suzuki-Miyaura