A new approach for the detection of ethylene using silica-supported palladium complexes

P. Cabanillas-Galan, L. Farmer, T. Hagan, Mark Nieuwenhuyzen, Stuart James, Cristina Lagunas-Castedo

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13 Citations (Scopus)


The coordination of olefins to square-planar Pd(II) and Pt(II) complexes containing 2,9-dimethylphenanthroline (L1) often involves a change of color associated with a change of geometry at the metal center. In order to obtain suitable colorimetric detectors for ethylene gas, a series of new Pd(II) and Pt(II) compounds with a range of 2,9-disubstituted phenanthroline ligands [2,9-di-n-butyl-1,10-phenanthroline (L-2), 2,9-di-s-butyl-1,10-phenanthroline (L3), 2,9-diphenyl-1,10-phenanthroline (L4), and 2,9-dimethyl-4,7-diphenyl-1,10-phenanthroline (bathocuproine, L5)] have been prepared and their reactivity toward ethylene investigated both in solution and after depositing the detector compounds on a variety of solid supports. The Pd(II) complex [PdCl2(L2)] supported on silica undergoes a clear color change upon exposure to ethylene, while remaining stable toward air and water, and forms the basis for new simple colorimetric detectors with potential applications in ethylene pipe-leak detection and the monitoring of fruit ripening. Encouragingly, the detector is able to discriminate between fruit at different stages of ripening. The response of the detector to other volatiles was also examined, and specific color changes were also observed upon exposure to aromatic acetylenes. The crystal structures of four new derivatives, including the ethylene-Pt(II) complex [PtCl2(C2H4)(L2)], are also described.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9035-9041
Number of pages7
JournalInorganic Chemistry
Issue number19
Early online date27 Aug 2008
Publication statusPublished - 06 Oct 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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