American Chemical Society
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Alkyne Activation with Gold(III) Complexes: A Quantitative Assessment of the Ligand Effect by Charge-Displacement Analysis

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journal contribution
posted on 2019-02-18, 13:48 authored by Luca Gregori, Diego Sorbelli, Leonardo Belpassi, Francesco Tarantelli, Paola Belanzoni
A quantitative assessment of the Dewar–Chatt–Duncanson components of the Au­(III)-alkyne bond in a series of cationic and dicationic bis- and monocyclometalated gold­(III) complexes with 2-butyne via charge-displacement (CD) analysis is reported. Bonding between Au­(III) and 2-butyne invariably shows a dominant σ donation component, a smaller, but significant, π back-donation, and a remarkable polarization of the alkyne CC triple bond toward the metal fragment. A very large net electron charge transfer from CC triple bond to the metal fragment results, which turns out to be unexpectedly insensitive to the charge of the complex and more strictly related to the nature of the ancillary ligand. The combination of σ donation, π back-donation, and polarization effects is in fact modulated by the different ligand frameworks, with ligands bearing atoms different from carbon in trans position with respect to the alkyne emerging as especially interesting for both imparting Au­(III)-alkyne bond stability and inducing a more effective alkyne activation. A first attempt to figure out a rationale on the bonding/reactivity relationship for Au­(III)-alkyne is made by performing a comparative study in a model nucleophilic attack of water to the alkyne triple bond. Smaller π back-donation facilitates alkyne slippage in the transition states, which is energetically less demanding for Au­(III) than for Au­(I), and suggests a greater propensity of Au­(III) to facilitate the nucleophilic attack.