Catalytic oxidation of small organic molecules by cold plasma in solution in the presence of molecular iron complexes†

Śmiłowicz, D. and Kogelheide, F. and Schöne, A.L. and Stapelmann, K. and Awakowicz, P. and Metzler-Nolte, N.

Volume: 10 Pages:
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-020-78683-7
Published: 2020

The plasma-mediated decomposition of volatile organic compounds has previously been investigated in the gas phase with metal oxides as heterogeneous catalysts. While the reactive species in plasma itself are well investigated, very little is known about the influence of metal catalysts in solution. Here, we present initial investigations on the time-dependent plasma-supported oxidation of benzyl alcohol, benzaldehyde and phenol in the presence of molecular iron complexes in solution. Products were identified by HPLC, ESI-MS, FT-IR, and 1H NMR spectroscopy. Compared to metal-free oxidation of the substrates, which is caused by reactive oxygen species and leads to a mixture of products, the metal-mediated reactions lead to one product cleanly, and faster than in the metal-free reactions. Most noteworthy, even catalytic amounts of metal complexes induce these clean transformations. The findings described here bear important implications for plasma-supported industrial waste transformations, as well as for plasma-mediated applications in biomedicine, given the fact that iron is the most abundant redox-active metal in the human body. © 2020, The Author(s).

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