Chemistry with methane: concepts rather than recipes

Angew Chem Int Ed Engl. 2011 Oct 17;50(43):10096-115. doi: 10.1002/anie.201006424. Epub 2011 Jun 8.


Four seemingly simple transformations related to the chemistry of methane will be addressed from mechanistic and conceptual points of view: 1) metal-mediated dehydrogenation to form metal carbene complexes, 2) the hydrogen-atom abstraction step in the oxidative dimerization of methane, 3) the mechanisms of the CH(4)→CH(3)OH conversion, and 4) the initial bond scission (C-H vs. O-H) as well as the rate-limiting step in the selective CH(3)OH→CH(2)O oxidation. State-of-the-art gas-phase experiments, in conjunction with electronic-structure calculations, permit identification of the elementary reactions at a molecular level and thus allow us to unravel detailed mechanistic aspects. Where appropriate, these results are compared with findings from related studies in solution or on surfaces.