Single-Walled Carbon Nanotube–Polyamidoamine Dendrimer Hybrids for Heterogeneous Catalysis

We report the synthesis and catalytic properties of single-walled carbon nanotubepolyamidoamine dendrimers hybrids (SWCNT–PAMAM), prepared <i>via</i> a convergent strategy. The direct reaction of cystamine-based PAMAM dendrimers (generations 2.5 and 3.0) with pristine SWCNTs in refluxing toluene, followed by immobilization and reduction of [PdCl<sub>4</sub>]<sup>2–</sup>, led to the formation of highly dispersed small palladium nanoparticles homogeneously confined throughout the nanotube length. One of these functional materials proved to be an efficient catalyst in Suzuki and Heck reactions, able to promote the above processes down to 0.002 mol % showing a turnover number (TON) of 48 000 and a turnover frequency (TOF) of 566 000 h<sup>–1</sup>. In addition, the hybrid material could be recovered and recycled for up to 6 times. No leaching of the metal has been detected during the Suzuki coupling. Additional experiments carried out on the spent catalyst permitted to suggest that a “release and catch” mechanism is operative in both reactions, although during Heck reaction small catalytically active soluble Pd species are also present.