Probing Substrate Diffusion in Interstitial MOF Chemistry with Kinetic Isotope Effects


Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) have garnered substantial interest as platforms for site-isolated catalysis. Efficient diffusion of small molecule substrates to interstitial lattice-confined catalyst sites is critical to leveraging unique opportunities of these materials as catalysts. Understanding the rate of substrate diffusion in MOFs is challenging and few in situ chemical tools are available to evaluate substrate diffusion during interstitial MOF chemistry. Here, we demonstrate nitrogen-atom transfer (NAT) from a lattice-confined Ru2 nitride to toluene to generate benzylamine. We use a comparison of the intramolecular deuterium kinetic isotope effect (KIE), determined for amination of a partially deuterated substrate, with the intermolecular KIE, determined by competitive amination of a mixture of perdeuterated and undeuterated substrates, to establish the relative rates of substrate diffusion and interstitial chemistry. We anticipate the developed KIE-based experiments will contribute to the development of porous materials for group-transfer catalysis