Date of Award

Fall 2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Yi, Chae S.

Second Advisor

Donaldson, William

Third Advisor

Fiedler, Adam


C–N bond activation via transition-metal catalyst has attracted much attention during the past two decades. This strategy has become one of the most promising way to generate secondary amines, which are very important in a broad spectrum of applications in pharmaceutical industry, synthetic organic chemistry and material science. The secondary amines can be utilized as an important synthetic intermediate for further manipulations. The in-situ formed catalytic system generated from the tetranuclear Ru–H complex with 4-(1,1-dimethylethyl)-1,2-benzenediol ligand was found to be effective for the synthesis of secondary amines from the direct deaminative coupling of amines. The ruthenium catalyst was highly effective for promoting selective coupling of two different primary amines to afford the formation of unsymmetric secondary amines. The treatment of aniline-d7 with 4-methoxybenzylamine led to the coupling product with significant deuterium incorporation on CH2 (18% D). The most pronounced carbon isotope effect was observed on the α-carbon isolated from the coupling reaction of 4- methoxybenzylamine. Hammett plot was constructed from measuring the rates of 4- methoxyaniline with a series of para-substituted benzylamines 4-X-C6H4CH2NH2 (X = OMe, Me, H, F, CF3). (ρ = -0.8±0.1). A plausible mechanistic scheme has been proposed for the coupling reaction on the basis of these results. The catalytic coupling method provides a simple and chemoselective synthesis of secondary amine products without using any reactive reagents or forming wasteful byproducts.