Switchable catalysis offers opportunities to control the rate or selectivity of a reaction via a stimulus such as pH or light. However, few examples of switchable catalytic systems that can facilitate multiple processes exist. Here we report a rare example of such dual-functional, switchable catalysis. Featuring an easily prepared, bench-stable cobalt(I) hydride complex in conjunction with pinacolborane, we can completely alter the reaction outcome between two widely employed transformations – olefin migration and hydroboration – with visible light as the sole trigger. This dichotomy arises from ligand photodissociation which leads to metamorphosis of the active catalytic site, resulting in divergent mechanistic pathways.
Cobalt Photoswitch SI ChemRxiv