SCIENCE CHINA Chemistry, Volume 60, Issue 7: 958-963(2017) https://doi.org/10.1007/s11426-016-0507-7

Cooperative effect from cation and anion of pyridine-containing anion-based ionic liquids for catalysing CO2 transformation at ambient conditions

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  • ReceivedDec 1, 2016
  • AcceptedDec 30, 2016
  • PublishedMay 9, 2017


Pyridine-containing anion-based ionic liquids (PA-ILs) with two kinds of interaction sites to bind CO2, e.g., [P4444][2-OP], were found to be highly efficient for catalysing the cycloaddition reactions of atmospheric CO2 with epoxides at room temperature under metal- and halogen-free conditions, producing a series of cyclic carbonates in high yields. It was demonstrated that the cooperative interaction from two interaction sites in the anions of PA-ILs activated CO2, while the cation activated the epoxides substrates via coordination to the central P+ unit, thus resulting in the high activity of the IL catalysts.

Funded by

National Natural Science Foundation of China(21403252,21533011)

Chinese Academy of Sciences(QYZDY-SSW-SLH013)


This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (21403252, 21533011), and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (QYZDY-SSW-SLH013).

Interest statement

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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  • Figure 1

    Dependence of the yield on reaction time. Reaction conditions: epichlorohydrine (5mmol), [P4444][2-OP] (10 mol%), CO2 (0.1 MPa), 303 K.

  • Scheme 1

    Structures of the cation and anions in as-synthesized ILs ([P4444][2-OP], [P4444][3-OP], [P4444][4-OP], [P4444][PhO], [N4444][2-OP] and [Et-DBU][2-OP]).

  • Scheme 2

    Possible pathway for the reaction of the cycloaddition reaction of CO2 and epoxides catalyzed by [P4444][2-OP] (color online).

  • Figure 2

    13C NMR spectrum of [P4444][2-OP] (cations are not shown) before and after exposure to atmospheric CO2 (color online).

  • Table 1   Cyclic addition of CO with epichlorohydrin catalyzed by ILs



    Yield (%)
























    9 b)



    10 c)



    11 d)



    Reaction conditions: substrate (5 mmol), IL (10% mmol), CO2 (0.1 MPa), 303 K, 20 h; b) 4 h; c) 353 K, 4 h; d) 353 K, 2.0 MPa, 4 h.

  • Table 2   The mulliken atomic charges of the O and C atoms in activated forms of CO in the anions


    IL-CO2 complex

    Mulliken atomic charges (carbonate)

    O charge

    C charge













    Carried out at the B3LYP/6-31++G (d, p) level.

  • Table 3   Cyclic addition of COwith various epoxides catalyzed by [P] [2-OP]




    Yield (%)





    3 b)


    4 b)


    5 b)


    Reaction conditions: substrate (5 mmol), IL (10% mmol), CO2 (0.1 MPa), 303K, 20 h; b) substrate (1 mmol), IL (50% mmol).

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