Photolysis and Thermolysis of Bis(imino)pyridine Cobalt Azides: C−H Activation from Putative Cobalt Nitrido Complexes

A series of planar aryl-substituted bis(imino)pyridine cobalt azide complexes were prepared and evaluated as synthetic precursors for the corresponding cobalt nitrido compounds. Thermolysis or photolysis of two examples resulted in intramolecular C−H activation of the benzylic positions of the aryl substituents. For the mesityl-substituted compound, C−H activation by the putative nitride resulted in formation of a neutral imine ligand and modification of the chelate by hydrogen transfer to the imine carbon.