American Chemical Society
cs9b00882_si_001.pdf (2.96 MB)

Redox-Active, Boron-Based Ligands in Iron Complexes with Inverted Hydride Reactivity in Dehydrogenation Catalysis

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journal contribution
posted on 2019-06-27, 00:00 authored by Andreas Bäcker, Yinwu Li, Maximilian Fritz, Maik Grätz, Zhuofeng Ke, Robert Langer
For a series of PBP-type iron­(II) pincer complexes, the central donor group based on tricoordinate boron is demonstrated to be redox-active, formally yielding iron(0) and a boronium-species by reversible B–H reductive elimination. In contrast to common tricoordinate boron compounds, such as BF3, which are known to act as Lewis acid and Z-type ligand, the introduction of π-accepting phosphine substituents at the boron center leads to an umpolung of the bonding situation from R3B←Fe to L2RB→Fe in the reported complexes. The described iron­(II) complexes are competent catalysts for the dehydrogenation of Me2NH-BH3. Depending on the substituents a homo- or hetertopic catalyst is formed. Experimental and quantum chemical investigations on the most active, homogeneous catalyst indicate that hydrogen liberation can proceed via different pathways, involving a hydrido ligand as the proton source or a carbanion bifunctional mechanism. The unprecedented catalytic mechanism and the unusual reactivity that allows for two-electron redox steps are attributed to the unique donor properties of the boron-based ligand.