Background: The oxidation of alcohols to afford carbonyl compounds is a key transformation
in organic chemistry. Significant development has occurred in the recent years, in catalytic oxidation
of alcohols by aerial oxygen. However, the alcohol oxidation mediated by H2O2 is quite meagre.
From economic and environmental point of views, the oxidation of alcohols mediated by H2O2 is quite
attractive in particular.
Methods: Various alcohols Cu3(slmh)(µ-Cl)2(CH3OH)3].0.5CH3OH, ligand, H2O2, CDCl3, Tetramethylsilane
were used for oxidation of alcohols to carbonyl compounds. For analysis, IR, 1H NMR, and 13C
NMR were utilized.
Results: Taking benzyl alcohol as a model compound, first reaction conditions were optimized. The
combination of catalyst (0.04 mmol, 0.032 mg), 15% H2O2 (8.83 mmol, 2 mL) at 70°C under solvent
free condition was found to be the most appropriate condition for the oxidation of alcohols. The efficiency
of the catalyst was tested by oxidizing several aromatic ring substituted benzyllic, aliphatic and
allylic alcohols by H2O2. We efficiently carried out oxidation of nineteen alcohols. The benzyl alcohols
bearing electron withdrawing groups gave excellent yield of the corresponding carbonyl compounds
whereas those bearing electron donating substituent gave slightly lower conversions. The heteroaroyl
alcohols also gave excellent yield. The hydroxy group was oxidized selectively to aldehyde in cinnamyl
alcohol keeping double bond intact. Secondary alcohols such as cyclohexane and 1-phenylethanol were
negligibly oxidized. The aliphatic alcohols gave much lower yield as compared to benzyllic and allylic
Conclusion: The benzyllic, aliphatic and allylic alcohols were effectively oxidized to aldehydes by hydrogen
peroxide using catalytic amount of Cu3(slmh)(µ-Cl)2(CH3OH)3].0.5CH3OH. The process is simple and mild, the catalyst can be recycled to get improved catalytic activity.