Phebox Ligands and Methods of Making Same

The Phebox ligand

Invention Summary:

Phebox ligands are organic complexes useful for a number of catalytic transformations of other organic molecules, including transformations of alkanes generally requiring harsh conditions. Since catalytic transformations using this class of ligands intrinsically involve the activation of C-H bonds, the degradation of the phebox ligand via reactions of the C-H bonds of the aryl position (benzylic or aryl C-H bonds) is potentially problematic. 

Rutgers researchers have developed the bis-CF3-Phebox ligand and its non-obvious preparation method. The ligand can be complexed with metals to yield stable, convenient-to-synthesize, and highly effective catalysts. Therefore, the aryl positions can be protected with -CF3 groups. A multi-step synthesis of bis-CF3-Phebox has been successfully achieved and the bis-CF3-Phebox was used as an iridium complex in the alkane dehydrogenation of n-decane and n-dodecane with high catalytic turnover numbers.


  • Novel, highly effective, and non-obvious catalyst for alkane dehydrogenation
  • Novel and convenient synthesis to the catalyst.

Market Applications:

  • Conversion of low-value alkanes to high-value alkenes
  • Intermediates in catalytic cycles for further reactions of the olefins
  • Conversion of alkanes to other unsaturated high-value products such as aldehydes, alcohols, polymers, and aromatics.

Intellectual Property & Development Status: US Patent US 2021/0300910-A1. Available for licensing and/or research collaboration. Please contact:

Patent Information: