Molecular Dynamic Simulations of Aqueous Micellar Organometallic Catalysis: Methane Functionalization as a Case Study

Matamoros-Recio, E. Alonso-Rueda, E. Borrego, A. Caballero, S. Martín-Santamaría, P. J. PérezAngew. Chem. Int. Ed.2023, e202314773,

 Molecular Dynamics (MD) simulations is a powerful tool that provide a 3D perspective of the dynamical behavior of chemical system. Herein the first MD study of the dynamics of a catalytic organometallic system, in micellar media, is presented. The challenging methane catalytic functionalization into ethyl propionate through a silver-catalyzed process has been targeted as the case study. The intimate nature of the micelles formed with the surfactants sodium dodecylsulfate (SDS) and potassium perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) has been ascertained, as well as the relative distribution of the main actors in this transformation, namely methane, the diazo reagent and the silver catalyst, the latter in two different forms: the initial compound and a silver-carbene intermediate. Catalyst deactivation occurs with halide containing surfactants dodecyltrimethylammonium chloride (DTAC) and Triton X-100. Computed simulations allow explaining the experimental results, indicating that micelles behave differently regarding the degree of accumulation and the local distribution of the reactants and their effect in the molecular collisions leading to net reaction.