American Chemical Society
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Formazanate Ligands as Structurally Versatile, Redox-Active Analogues of β‑Diketiminates in Zinc Chemistry

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posted on 2015-01-05, 00:00 authored by Mu-Chieh Chang, Peter Roewen, Raquel Travieso-Puente, Martin Lutz, Edwin Otten
A range of tetrahedral bis­(formazanate)zinc complexes with different steric and electronic properties of the formazanate ligands were synthesized. The solid-state structures for several of these were determined by X-ray crystallography, which showed that complexes with symmetrical, unhindered ligands prefer coordination to the zinc center via the terminal N atoms of the NNCNN ligand backbone. Steric or electronic modifications can override this preference and give rise to solid-state structures in which the formazanate ligand forms a 5-membered chelate by binding to the metal center via an internal N atom. In solution, these compounds show dynamic equilibria that involve both 5- and 6-membered chelates. All compounds are intensely colored, and the effect of the ligand substitution pattern on the UV–vis absorption spectra was evaluated. In addition, their cyclic voltammetry is reported, which shows that all compounds may be electrochemically reduced to radical anionic (L2Zn) and dianionic (L2Zn2–) forms. While unhindered NAr substituents lie in the plane of the ligand backbone (Ar = Ph), the introduction of sterically demanding substituents (Ar = Mes) favors a perpendicular orientation in which the NMes group is no longer in conjugation with the backbone, resulting in hypsochromic shifts in the absorption spectra. The redox potentials in the series of L2Zn compounds may be altered in a straightforward manner over a relatively wide range (∼700 mV) via the introduction of electron-donating or -withdrawing substituents on the formazanate framework.